Palace offended by Australia's trash shipment

(Photo from Holcim Philippines Facebook)

MALACAÑANG on Thursday, May 23, expressed disappointment over a report that Australia has dumped seven containers of trash in Misamis Oriental amid the unresolved issue of Canada's garbage shipment to the Philippines.

In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was "offended" that Australia seemed to have joined Canada in treating the Philippines as a dump site.

"That will be our stance. It will be offensive to this government to be a recipient of trash or basura (garbage). We are offended by that," Panelo said.

"We will not allow ourselves to be a dumping ground of trash," he added.

However, consignee Holcim Philippines Inc. said the shipment was composed of processed engineered fuel, an alternative fuel in cement kiln.

"Our company maintains that the materials are PEF and these were accurately and truthfully declared as such. Acutely aware of the public outcry against the export of wastes to the Philippines and irresponsible and damaging waste disposal practices, Holcim Philippines’ importation and use of PEF as alternative fuel for its cement kilns is pursuant to its objective of contributing to the ongoing efforts to address the global waste problem," the company said in a statement issued Thursday.

Holcim also said the shipment was cleared by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), which wrote Bureau of Customs Port Collector John Simon on May 21, 2019 to state that it has no objections to the importation and use of PEF as alternative fuel in cement kiln since this underwent processing prior to shipment to the country.

The company said the EMB added in its letter that the PEF conforms to Section 4 of DENR Administrative Order 2010-06: Guidelines on the Use of Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials in Cement Kilns.

Read: Full statement of Holcim Philippines Inc.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared that the Philippines would no longer accept any waste from any country.

The Philippines, through the Basel Convention it ratified in March 1989, allows a foreign country to import hazardous waste, provided that it secures prior informed consent from the government.

Duterte's directive was issued following Canada's failure to take back its tons of garbage shipped to the Philippines six years ago.

On Wednesday, Malacañang announced that the Philippines would shoulder the cost of sending back Canada's waste, following Ottawa's failure to comply with the May 15 deadline to retrieve the trash.

Canada, also on Wednesday, said it would take back the trash shipment sent to the Philippines by the end of June.

Panelo, however, said President Rodrigo Duterte is rejecting Canada's latest pronouncement as he wants the trash to be taken out of the country the "soonest".

"It will take end of June (to take it back to Canada). Hindi papayag si Presidente dun (The President will not allow it). The trash will be sent back the soonest," he said.

"It could be this week or a week after. Definitely hindi end of June. Ayaw natin 'yun. Tagal-tagal na masyado 'yun (It's definitely not the end of June. We don't want that. Waiting June to retrieve the trash is too long)," he added.

Panelo added that the Philippines would also send back Australia's trash.

"We will not allow it. We'll send them back," he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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