DAVAO CITY — Holcim Philippines, Inc. is preparing to ramp up cement production in Mindanao as demand continues to increase with private sector projects and the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“There is no shortage of cement despite the increasing number of construction projects in the country,” Holcim Philippines Senior Vice-President for Sales William C. Sumalinog said at Wednesday’s Habi at Kape forum.
The company announced in October last year that it is investing P1.5 billion for the expansion of its Davao City plant to increase production capacity to 22 million bags in 2019 from the current 14 million.
The P1.5-billion investment is part of the company’s P2.5-billion capital expenditure earmarked this year.
To demonstrate Holcim’s present production capacity, Mr. Sumalinog said its two plants in Davao City and Misamis Oriental can cover up to 400 kilometers of two-lane roads per month.
“Our investment of P1.5 billion goes to show our commitment that we are more than willing to support the development not only in the entire Philippines but in particular in Mindanao, and we believe that by so doing to be able to really uplift somehow the lives especially for the masons, the workers in the construction industry,” he said.
The company’s “Galing Mason” program, its flagship corporate social responsibility project launched in 2004, provides training in partnership with the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA). Program graduates also get priority hiring from members of the Philippine Constructors Association, Inc.
“Our role is not just developing cement but also increasing the capability of our skilled workers within the industry… we are not just introducing cement but we are also introducing new types of technology and innovation to also elevate the skills of our partners and whoever is going to use our products,” Mr. Sumalinog said.
Alongside Holcim’s plant expansion, it is also rolling out innovative construction solutions such as the Solido, which provides soil stabilization such that contractors can still pour cement even when it is raining.
Another product is the Super Fast Crete (SFCrete), a fast-drying cement that is now being used for repairs on Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare, EDSA.
“We are also the first in history to go out of Metro Manila to put up a technological center in Mindanao,” Mr. Sumalinog said, referring to the Davao Tech Center, which is capable of conducting concrete and soil analysis.
Holcim also has two mobile laboratories moving around southern and northern Mindanao to provide testing and other services on site.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro, in the same forum, said the company’s expansion is a welcome development for the implementation of projects in the pipeline.
“We may not see the shortage in cement (now) but we are continuously seeing an increase in the demand for cement and steel considering the ‘Build, Build, Build’ involves big-ticket projects,” he said.
Mr. Montenegro cited that 14 of at least 60 major infrastructure projects lined up by the national government are in Mindanao.
Construction for most of these are expected to start a year from now, he said, while private sector initiatives are also being rolled out. — Carmencita A. Carillo and Maya M. Padillo