THE first 60 container vans of the illegal wastes stranded since 2018 in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental have been shipped back to South Korea on Sunday, January 19.
This, as port collector John Simon of the Bureau of Customs-Northern Mindanao said that the remaining container vans of illegal waste imports by Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation will be sent on February 9, or on the second batch of shipment.
In a statement, Simon said he hopes this move should send a clear signal that the country is not a “global dumping area” and that waste traffickers will be held accountable.
Misamis Oriental Provincial Board Member Gerardo “Boboy” Sabal lauded the South Korean Government for shouldering the expenses of the shipment.
The first batch of hazardous waste materials were first shipped in January 2019.
Placed in 51 containers, the 1,400 tons of garbage were loaded on the vessel MV Kalliroe V8525.
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition meanwhile hailed the complete removal of the South Korean waste, pointing out that this move will help in “correcting the grave environmental injustice inflicted on Mindanaoans in particular and Filipino people in general.”
“We commend Port Collector Simon and his team, as well as other customs, environmental and local government officials in the region, for taking a brave and solid position against foreign waste dumping and for finding ways to overcome logistical challenges, especially with the complicated repacking of the bulk waste,” Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition said.
Sometime July and October of 2018, authorities discovered that 6,500 tons of illegal waste arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT).
The illegal waste shipments from South Korea were falsely declared as “plastic synthetic flakes”.
Since then, actions were taken to return the shipments to South Korea, including the issuance of warrants of seizure by the Bureau of Customs-10, followed by a re-exportation order citing violations of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22 and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.