Pangasinan projects hit by cement lack
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Government infrastructure projects in Pangasinan province may miss their completion dates if the shortage of supply of cement continues, an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Thursday.
Rodolfo Dion, DPWH district engineer, said he had no idea why there was scarce supply. “Maybe it’s because of the simultaneous implementation of roads, bridges, school buildings and farm-to-market road projects nationwide,” he said.
He said 93 projects worth P1.6 billion are being constructed now in his district, which serves 12 towns and Dagupan City. The province has four DPWH engineering districts. Most of the projects were bid out in December last year and were started in January.
Commuters have complained about the inconvenience caused by heavy traffic in areas where roads or bridges are being built.
Dion said the construction of a school building project in San Jacinto town had been suspended for two weeks because the contractor could not buy enough cement.
Peter Mangabat, Pangasinan director of the Department of Trade and Industry, said the construction season is the reason for what he described as a “very tight” supply of cement.
Aside from government infrastructure projects, he said, the three-day maintenance shutdown in December last year of the Holcim cement plant in Bacnotan town in La Union province affected the supply of cement.
The Northern Cement Corp. in Sison town could only produce more than 1 million bags a month, which Mangabat said was not sufficient to meet the demand.
Despite the shortage, the price of cement per bag only increased by P1, from P230 to P231, he said. “[Supply is tight] not only in Pangasinan but nationwide… The ongoing government [infrastructure projects] are strong consumers of cement,” Mangabat said.
He ruled out the possibility of hoarding but said government could import cement to keep these projects rolling. He said the cement supply would stabilize in May or June when most of the government projects had been completed. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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