Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday vowed to take swift action to deal with the tons of garbage shipped to the Philippines from South Korea.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief has wanted the matter “resolved as soon as possible,” Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns chief Benny Antiporda said.
“We cannot go on just like this,” Antiporda said.
The department’s attached agency, the Environmental Management Bureau, is now conducting a waste analysis and characterization study of the shipment “that was wrongfully declared as plastic synthetic flakes,” he said.
An appropriate action shall be taken once the results of the study are released “possibly within this week,” he added.
According to Antiporda, the DENR would recommend the return of the shipment to South Korea if its contents are found to be hazardous.
He warned that they would file administrative and criminal charges against those behind the shipment.
On Oct. 25, the Bureau of Customs-Region 10’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service issued an alert order that 5,100 tons of trash was wrongfully declared as “plastic synthetic flakes” that arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental from South Korea on board m/v Affluent Ocean last July 21.
The shipment was consigned to South Korean company Verde Soko II Industrial Corp., which operates a 4.5-hectare waste recycling facility within the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan town.
The shipment contained used dextrose tubes, used diapers, batteries, bulbs and electronic equipment.
EMB said the shipment was not covered by any DENR-issued importation clearance, and that Verde Soko was not even registered as an importer of recyclable materials.
Under the DENR policy, registered importers are required to secure the necessary import clearances from DENR at least 30 days before the actual importation.