Drilon seeks ban on garbage importation

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a bill that seeks to ban the importation of waste to the Philippines, with violators facing up to P15 million in fines or imprisonment for up to 12 years. (READ: How to keep imported waste out of the Philippines)

Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 18 or  Waste Importation Ban Act of 2019 earlier this week as the Philippines struggles to re-export trash from other countries following an increase in garbage shipments to the Philippines in recent years.

“The passage of this measure will no doubt stop the waste trade in the country and send a clear message to other countries that the Philippines is not a landfill,” he said.

Greenpeace reported a 178.88% jump in trash imports to the Philippines from 2017 to 2018.  (READ: DENR eyes total ban on waste imports)

In his explanatory note, Drilon cited the 103 shipping containers of garbage from Canada that was re-exported after being on Philippine soil for 6 years, as well as shipments of toxic waste from Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan.

“These incidents indicate that we have become a dumping ground for waste generated by other nations. We must fix our laws that allowed that to happen,” Drilon said.

Under SB No. 18, all waste, including recyclable materials, may not enter the Philippines, in order to prevent misdeclared recyclables from being shipped to the country.

Republic Act No. (RA) 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, monitors and regulates the importation and disposal of chemical substances that may have adverse health and environmental impacts, while RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, prohibits the “importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as ‘recyclable’ or ‘with recyclable content.’”

SB No. 18 also stipulates that imported waste will be brought back to its country of origin at the expense of the importer.

Under the bill, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Customs will be the agencies assigned to monitor imports and strictly enforce the regulations.

Violators will be fined P8 million to P15 million and  face 8 to 12 years in jail. Foreigners caught violating the law will be deported after serving the sentence. – Rappler.com