Members of environmentalist group Ecowaste Coalition again trooped to the Korean Embassy in Taguig City Thursday, this time by holding a Christmas caroling, restating their demand to bring the smuggled tons of garbage now dumped in Mindanao back to South Korea.
Dubbed as the “Keep Your Promise” caroling, the group together with “running priest” Father Robert Reyes and Buklod Tao, gathered at the embassy gates to restate their demand to get the Korean garbage.
Last month, Ecowaste gathered at the embassy and submitted a letter to Ambassador Han Dong-man urging his government to act decisively to ensure the speedy return of the garbage shipment which are sitting at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, and at a warehouse in Cagayan de Oro City.
The South Korean government had earlier confirmed through a press release issued on Nov. 21, 2018 by its Embassy “that it would take measures to have the wastes in question be brought back to Korea as soon as possible,” stressing that “relevant authorities of Korea will have the wastes repatriated and properly disposed [of] and work to prevent recurrence of the problem.”
“We are here to implore the Korean government to honor its promise and ensure that the illegal hazardous waste shipments weighing 6,500 metric tons are removed from our land. As the customs authorities have already issued a ‘Re-Exportation Order’ and confirmed that the garbage ‘is now ready for pick-up,’ we hope the re-shipment will be done at once before Christmas,” said Ecowaste coordinator Aileen Lucero.
“With the resources at the command of the shipper and the Korean government, we see no justifiable excuse for the delay. The re-export of the garbage consignments will be the best Christmas gift ever that we can ask for from South Korea,” she added.
Father Reyes, for his part, said: “The Korean dumping incident, I hope, will be resolved before Christmas and will not suffer the same fate as the infamous Canadian garbage imports. We will keep our fingers crossed that this stinking scandal will be over soon and will not occur again.”
To drive their message home, the protestors sang a modified version of “Sa Maybahay ang Aming Bati,” a favorite song that children sing when they go caroling.
The song’s last stanza says: “Ang sanhi po ng pagparito, ipaalala inyong pangako. Kung sakaling kami’y perwisyo, pasensiya na kayo kami’y apurado.”
They also brought a dummy trash-filled boat with ribbon and bow resembling a gift. The side of the boat is marked “Rush: Return to Korea.”
The protestors also held blown up photos of the illegal Korean garbage imports that were taken by the group during a field visit conducted on Dec. 11 at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.