MANILA, Philippines – An interagency committee said on Tuesday, September 6, it would implement a local court’s order to ship back to Canada the wastes that were illegally dumped in the Philippines in 2013.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 1 Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag ordered last June 30 the shipping back of the wastes to Canada at the expense of the importer.
A press release issued by the customs bureau said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to file a motion for the execution of the order when the Manila RTC conducts another hearing on the case on September 30.
The inter-agency committee that will implement the court order includes representatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the DOJ, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The court order covers 50 x 40 containers that had assorted plastic materials consigned to Chronic Plastics Incorporated. There have been 103 container vans of Canadian wastes on Philippine ports since the first batch arrived in July 2013.
Though the shipments were declared by Chronic Plastics as recyclable plastic scrap materials, an inspection revealed they were in fact used mixed and unsorted plastic, household garbage and even used adult diapers.
The said containers, parked at the Subic and Manila International Container Yards, have caused port congestion, and posed hazards to public health. The BOC has also incurred expenses for holding them.
In February 2014, the BOC filed charges against Adelfa Eduardo, owner of Chronic Plastics, a firm in Valenzuela City, for allegedly violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) and the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 (Republic Act 6969).
Also charged were the company’s licensed customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon.
Republic Act 6969 prohibits the importation of hazardous waste to the Philippines. The TCCP holds an importer criminally liable for illegal imports.
Canada had said it does not have a law that would force it to take back the garbage, and asked the Philippines to dispose of them locally.
The current president, Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still mayor of Davao City in July 2015, called on then President Benigno Aquino III to protest Canada’s trash in the Philippines.
Aquino did not raise the issue in his bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015, but the premier was finally confronted with the question during a press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila in November that year.