LAWMAKERS warned that if Verde Soko fail to pay the shipment of the remaining garbage in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, the government might be forced to shoulder the expenses to clear the province of waste materials from South Korea.
Misamis Occidental Representative (2nd District) Henry Oaminal said, garbage importer Verde Soko should shoulder the expenses of the return shipment of the 5,100 tons of garbage, but the problem is, they are nowhere to be found.
Verde Soko failed to appear in the two congressional hearings of the committees on good government and public accountability, ecology, and local government. The 2nd hearing was held in Cagayan de Oro on Friday, March 15.
Oaminal, the vice chairman of the committee on good government, said they were also informed that Verde Soko’s mother company Green Soko is no longer existing, according to the South Korean government.
“Kung dili na sila makita, liability gyud na sa gobyerno, ato ng concern because this concerns the public, responsibilidad na sa gobyerno to clear that area,” Oaminal said.
Magdalo party-list representative Gary Alejano meanwhile said the government should issue a strong diplomatic protest against South Korea, noting the South Korea’s “pattern in dumping waste materials to the Philippines.”
Alejano said Koreans were also responsible for another garbage shipment in Cebu.
“There must be a formal protest from the country because this is not the first time. What we can do is to encourage the executive department to do that, because we can only recommend,” he said.
Bayan Muna party-list representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said local government officials should be held responsible for being a part in causing this mess.
Zarate called Verde Soko a scam, and questioned why officials here allowed this company to come in.
“Sometimes, our government officials, mo-piyong lang para naay investment dinhi, but what kind of investment? Basura investment. It’s a global problem, industrial countries are finding it hard to look for areas where to dump their garbage because of their strict policies, and sadly, third world countries are victims,” Zarate said.
“Kita na ang nabudol-budol, kita pa gyuy mugasto, it’s a scam,” he added.
Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental Representative (2nd District) Juliet Uy and Iligan City Representative Frederick Siao moved to suspend Phividec Industrial Authority administrator Franklin Quijano and Customs collector Floro Calixihan.
Siao said Calixihan signed a document allowing the importation of the garbage shipment even without conducting inspection first. Siao urged that the Bureau of Customs also launch an internal investigation on Calixihan.
Uy said Quijano should be suspended when he allowed Verde Soko to operate “even when he knew the company was not capable of recycling plastic.”
Uy also pushed that Phividec should pay for the shipment of the remaining waste materials in Tagoloan.
“They were the ones who brought the garbage shipment, so they should also be the one to return it,” she added.