THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu has padlocked a warehouse in Mandaue City where the plastic wastes from Korea were dumped.

Vernie Enciso, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, said the padlocked warehouse is located at Espina Warehouse Complex, Del Rosario St., Guizo.

Enciso said the controversial shipment arrived in Cebu port from Jeju, South Korea last Jan. 20 and was declared as wood chips and recycled resins.

Cebu Port Authority General Manager Angelo Verdan said the shipment was released from the Cebu International Port because it was cleared by the BOC.

Verdan said they are presently conducting an investigation on the matter.

Enciso, for his part, said that BOC Cebu district collector Elvira Cruz has ordered the Port Operations Division to hold the remaining cargoes inside MV Cristine, the vessel that shipped the wastes.

Enciso said about half of the cargoes are still in the vessel after the BOC in Manila issued an alert order on the shipment.

Since it appeared that the wood chips and recycled resins were only used as cover on the bulk of the wastes, Enciso said the shipper and the consignee can be charged criminally for smuggling.

Enciso said Cruz may soon order the shipper and consignee to reload all the unloaded wastes to the vessel and sent it back to South Korea. But they will require them first to pay all the penalties and sue them.

However, Enciso said any recommendation that will be given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on what to do about the wastes will prevail.

The Mandaue City Government, on the other hand, plans to coordinate with the Korean consulate once it is confirmed that the garbage dumped in Barangay Tingub is from Korea.

Atty. Mae Elaine Bathan, chief of staff of Mayor Luis Gabriel Quisumbing, said they will also file appropriate charges against Envirotech, who rented the 2,000 square meter lot where the garbage was dumped.

The firm, which started operating last Jan. 22, wants to use the shredded plastics as a component in making PVC pipes.

Envirotech, however, did not have the necessary permits for their operation.

Placido Jerusalem of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) said the City has not yet received any payment from the penalty they imposed to Envirotech.

Cenro personnel is presently trying to trace the source of the wastes.

Bathan said the City is still waiting for the justification of Envirotech on why the wastes reached Mandaue.

Following the incident, Jerusalem encourages the public to report to their office any violations of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Jenevie Cabajar, USJ-R Intern