Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Sunday urged the Bureau of Customs and other related agencies to file the appropriate charges against those responsible for bringing in foreign trash through illegal misdeclaration of cargo.
“Let’s ensure that this brazen act is not tolerated and in fact punished to the fullest extent of the law, particularly our Tariff and Customs Code and possibly the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990,” Pimentel said.
The senator said the repeated dumping of foreign trash was an affront to the country’s dignity.
“If foreign-based entities and even foreign governments see and treat the Philippines as a final destination for their unwanted waste material, that speaks volumes of the way we are seen abroad. This should not be tolerated,” he said.
He said the country should assert its dignity and co-equal standing as a sovereign state in the community of nations.
“We should not be seen as a recipient, officially or unofficially, of waste material coming from other countries,” the senator added.
The Philippines is set to return to South Korea some 6,500 tons of waste that were dumped in Mindanao.
The South Korean government has committed to take back the trash after an agreement was reached during a bilateral meeting between Filipino and Korean authorities last month.
According to officials of the Mindanao International Container Port, the waste materials will commence their return trip to South Korea on January 9.
The consignee, Verde Soko Industrial Corporation, falsely reported that the container vans carried soft plastic and not garbage, claiming the plastics were raw materials meant for furniture reprocessing.
“We are thankful to the South Korean government for its commitment to resolve this matter and take back the misdeclared shipment,” Pimentel said.
The senator likewise said he will seek an update on the waste materials from Canada that were “dumped” in the country in 2013.
“As far as I’m aware, the matter has yet to be resolved,” he said. “We need immediate and concrete action on this.”