Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has filed Senate Resolution 553 seeking a formal inquiry into the Canadian trash dumped into the country that has been the subject of contentious issues by several environmental groups.
The resolution, in aid of legislation, is in specific relation to the 103 container vans of trash from Canada that entered the Philippines from 2013 to 2015.
Beginning June 2013, Chronic, Inc. an Ontario-based firm, shipped to its Philippine-counterpart, Chronic Plastics, Inc. in Valenzuela City 50 container vans declared to contain recyclable plastics. These arrived in six batches at the Manila International Container Port.
In February 2014, Pimentel said the Bureau of Customs filed a criminal case against Chronic Plastics Inc., against its owner Adelfa Eduardo and licensed customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon for violating Sections 3601 and 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Art. 172 in relation to Art. 171 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines and RA 6969 (Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990).
The case was raffled to Manila RTC Presiding Judge Tita Alisuag who subsequently issued an order on June 30, 2016 directing the shipment of the trash back to Canada at the expense of Chronic Plastics Inc.
“We have to determine whether there are sufficient legal safeguards restricting the indiscriminate entry and dumping of solid waste and harmful trash into the Philippines and to formulate laws imposing high penalties for the introduction into the country of all forms of trash,” Pimentel explained.
In June 2015, despite protests from environmental groups and the LGU concerned, the contents of 26 container vans were dumped at a private landfill in Capas, Tarlac.
In the same year, the BOC discovered that more container vans of garbage were shipped by Live Green Enterprise from Canada to Manila in several batches between December 2013 and January 2014.
This brought the total number of container vans to one hundred three (103).
Through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Pimentel said the Philippines formally requested the Canadian Embassy for assistance to bring the garbage back to Canada but no assistance was extended.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his recent visit during the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, declared that legal barriers and restrictions preventing the return of the garbage to Canada have been addressed and that it is now “theoretically possible for Canada to get back the trash.”
In filing the resolution, Pimentel cited Art. 11, Section 16 of the Constitution that mandates the State “to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
RA 6969 states that “it is also the declared policy of the State to regulate, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment and to prohibit the entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the Philippine territorial limits for whatever purpose.”
“Thus, considering the monumental consequences, it behooves us in the Senate to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to determine whether there are sufficient laws restricting the indiscriminate entry and dumping of solid wastes and other harmful trash into our country,” Pimentel said.