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DTI urged to boost ‘buy local’ campaign

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) must dig deep into the mislabeling report against a cement firm to help protect the welfare of the local cement industry.

In his opinion piece published on the Philippine Star, political scientist and newspaper columnist Alex Magno lamented the DTI policy that absolved the firm from any liability in connection with a complaint filed by the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP).

The DTI ruled against CeMAP.

Magno warned that allowing imported cement to be labeled as local is detrimental to the local cement industry, which directly employs 42,000 workers and creates 125,000 more jobs through the value chain.

The veteran columnist added that the local cement industry is an important pillar of the Philippine economy, recording sales of around P155 billion annually or equivalent to one percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Another newspaper columnist, Ray Enano of the Manila Standard, said labeling imported cement as a local product is a serious trade issue that could adversely affect the government’s efforts to jumpstart the economy through the intensified “buy-local” campaign.

Allowing imported cement to be labeled as locally-produced through mislabeling would severely threaten the viability of the local cement manufacturing industry, already weakened by the pandemic,” Enano said.

Enano and Magno called on the DTI to review the loopholes on the regulation governing the local cement industry and to implement medial measures to correct the harm being inflicted by mislabeled imported cement on local producers.

In a previous interview, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed willingness to look into issues surrounding the firm.

It is therefore imperative that products sold in the market, like cement, are appropriately labeled and represented as such,” CeMAP said.