The Phillipine opposition has urged the government to guard against profiteering in the supply of cement as prices of the commodity continue to escalate. House Deputy Minority Leader and Isabela Rep, Rodolfo Albano III warned against its adverse effect on the economy and its impact on current infrastructure projects being pursued by the Aquino government and the private sector.
“Government regulatory agencies must move swiftly and act now to avert any crisis in cement supply to ensure the smooth implementation of major and vital government infrastructure projects being rushed by the Aquino government especially housing and rehabilitation programs for the poor, particularly, calamity victims still housed in temporary shelters in disaster-hit areas,” Albano said.
“Market conditions are so ripe for unscrupulous, greedy players and carpetbaggers in the cement industry to exploit,” he added.
Market data showed that industry players carry out four price adjustments per year—where the first two price hikes are imposed at the start of the year and the third during the summer month of April.
Quoting industry sources, Albano said the first two adjustments were in preparation for a possible rollback in cement supply during the rainy months and the lean month of August, while the fourth round of price adjustment is expected in October onwards to the summer months.
In February cement manufacturers raised cement prices by an average of PHP8 per 40kg bag (US$0.18) to PHP220/bag (US$5.06) in February from PHP212/bag in 2013.
Albano urged the government to ensure reliable and ample cement supply of cement to stabilise prices in the country.
Meanwhile, Maria Catalina Cabral, department of public works and highways (DPWH) assistant secretary, said the government has numerous projects in the pipeline to fulfill until 2016. However, there is an intense need for technology in building better roads and more efforts for the reinforcement of public-private partnerships (PPP) in building sustainable communities.
Cabral mentioned that after typhoon Yolanda, roads and buildings need not only be restored but also rebuilt using upgraded design and technology to make these less disaster prone.
This year, Cemex launched the Build Unity rehabilitation programme for the typhoon-affected communities in Northern Cebu. Part of the programme is building 88 houses in four unity villages in the city of Bogo and municipality of Daanbantayan. This project is in partnership with the respective local government units and Gawad Kalinga.
Recently, Cemex also signed an agreement with the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), one of the largest and leading organizations in the country that address the concerns of the shelter industry, to guarantee a special price for SHDA members in order to contribute to the solution of the pending housing backlog issues.