The Philippines will see cement consumption continue its upward momentum as the incoming Duterte administration maintains its predecessor's focus on public works. That was the message delivered by the President of the Philippines Cement Manufacturers Association (CeMAP), Ernesto Ordoñez, in the opening session of the Cemtech Asia 2016 conference in Manila.
Ordoñez spoke of his recent meeting with President-elect Duterte in which the latter assured him that he was committed to maintaining and expanding investment in infrastructure - a key aim of the new government.
Investment in public works would continue to take a large share of the national budget, Ordoñez pledged, with cement consumption growing in line with increased government spending. Despite the pace at which consumption was rising – at 12 per in the first quarter of 2016 – Ordoñez noted that a number of challenges still remained to be overcome.
Firstly, power supply to producers can be unreliable, and prices were 50 to 200 per cent higher than in neighbouring countries. Secondly, Ordoñez touched on the logistic difficulties of supplying bagged cement to a country comprising of over 7000 islands with frequently antiquated port facilities. Finally, he pointed to the need to combat the smuggling of substandard cement from abroad.
Joining the CeMAP president in addressing the conference was Nestor Arcansalin, Director of Resource-Based Industries at the Filipino Department of Trade and Industry, whose address focused on the country's rapid pace of growth and the efforts being made by the cement industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Cemtech Asia conference and exhibition is taking place at the Makati Shangri-La hotel in Manila, the Philippines. This event, which is organised by International Cement Review, runs from 19th to 22nd June.