AN OFFICIAL of a government-owned economic zone in Misamis Oriental has clarified that the thousands of tons of discarded plastic materials that came from South Korea do not pose any environmental threat and that these enter the local port legally.
Engineer Dax Jara, safety specialist at the Phividec Industrial Estate, said the 5,100 tons of “non-hazardous segregated processed plastics from Pyongteak, South Korea” were allowed to enter their facility in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, through a deal made by the government and the Korean company Verde Soko Il Industrial Corporation (Verde Soko).
Jara said the Phividec Industrial Authority (PIA), the office that manages the industrial estate, entered into a memorandum of understanding in June with Verde Soko for the “sorting and processing of plastics for briquettes and plastic resin for production of plastic pallets.”
PIA, he said, is “satisfied that [Verde Soko] has complied with their commitments under the [memorandum of understanding].”
PIA’s statement came following media reports that tons of waste materials were being unloaded at the Mindanano Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan and that these piles of trash will be buried in a nearby location.
Jara said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has allowed the entry of the materials at the MCT in Tagoloan just recently.
Verde Soko, he added, occupies a 4.5-hectare lot within the Phividec Industrial Estate at Sitio Buguac in Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan.
He said the firm has already secured an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) last month.
Jara said he is certain that Verde Soko has completed the requirements set by the EMB or it would not have been given the ECC.
He said PIA’s role is to assist companies like Verde Soko in securing the necessary documents prior to its operation in the industrial zone.
Jara also clarified that the recyclable materials were green-lighted by the Philippine Embassy in South Korea even before it was shipped to the Philippines.
“These plastics were given the Red Ribbon Certificate by the Philippine Embassy in South Korea and were duly cleared following Philippine protocol,” he said.
“As a corporation aiming to provide a zero-waste facility, [Verde Soko] assures the public that 100 percent of all these materials will be used to power the energy requirement of the processing facility without any hazardous residual by-products,” Jara added.
In fact, he said, PIA “welcomes the presence of [Verde Soko] as the company contemplates the creations of more than 300 jobs in the next six (6) months to be employed in its plastic pellet, plastic briquette and thermal power supply facility.”
As of this writing, the Verde Soko management has yet to issue its own official statement regarding this issue, but a source close to the company has assured that they will start their operation once its equipment will be released by the BOC.
The same source also said the reason for the delay in the releasing of the machinery was that there were new requirements set by the Customs that need to be completed.
“Verde Soko is a legal company and they are complying will all the local laws,” the source said, adding that the news reports that came out were just speculations and the firm’s business in the country is above board.