The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is contemplating on further slashing another P5 off the definitive safeguard duty imposed on all cement imports because of the continued increase in the prices of cement in the National Capital Region, as well as in the provinces. Trade Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters that the government is considering another P5 cut on the P15.6 per 40-kilogram bag of imported cement after the DTI received reports that prices of cement in the provinces have continued to go up.
We are concerned with the increase in prices and if it doesn't improve we will consider an additional decrease of P5 on the tariff. Cement is crucial to our local housing program, construction industry, infrastructure projects and we need to make sure that the prices of this crucial commodity is stable, Purisima stressed. As of last week, cement prices went up to P125 per bag from P120 in December in the NCR while prices in Cebu jumped to P134 from P127. On the other hand, cement prices in Cagayan de Oro increased to P135 per bag from P127. He explained that the DTI would continue to work with the local cement producers to maintain a stable price in the market.