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First batch of trash to be shipped back to South Korea

| January 14, 2019


TAGOLOAN, Misamis Oriental — Some 1.4 metric tons of industrial “wastes” comprising of 51 container vans were shipped back South Korea Sunday (January 13) after months of protest from environmental groups and local government officials.

The shipment, however, is just part of the imported wastes docked at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) environmental advocates wanted sent back to South Korea.

Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and the Environment (Pinoy Aksyon) expressed gratitude to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Korean government for the partial return of the illegally-imported wastes through the MICT.

Bencyrus Ellorin, Pinoy Aksyon’s chairperson, said that they viewed the development with “guarded optimism.”

Ellorin noted that there was “no clear commitment of support from the Korean government regarding the return of the remaining 5,100 tons of waste in clear violation of the Basel Convention.”

“We reiterate our call for the full return of the illegal Korean waste and bringing to court those responsible for the crime,” he said.

Another group, the EcoWaste Coalition, attended the sendoff of the containers at MICT with members waving placards that called for a stop of waste import to the Philippines.

They also called on the South Korean government for its wastes to be “treated in (South) Korea.”

Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, said “the waste shipments violated Korean and Philippine customs and environmental laws, as well as the International Basel Convention” and “sending the garbage back to its origin is just, moral and lawful.”

MICT Port Collector John Simon said after an investigation, BOC found out that “fake documents” were used in transporting the garbage.

Simon said Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, the company that imported the garbage, was not authorized to receive the cargoes in the country.

Misamis Oriental Board Member Gerardo Sabal III said the first shipment of the wastes arrived in July last, while the second arrived in October, also last year.

Misamis Oriental (2nd District) Rep. Juliette Uy assured the remaining 5,100 metric tons of garbage will be returned to South Korea on or before the end of this month.

“All, not just part or some of the total garbage shipments stored at MICT should be returned to South Korea. All of it. There should be no gray areas in this regard,” Uy said.

Uy also said her office will make sure to “pursue accountability and address problems in our government policy, operations and procedures that allow the importation of all solid wastes.”

The lawmaker said District Collector Floro Calixihan should “prepare his explanation because he was the one who approved the unloading of the garbage.” (PNA)

Photo caption: The EcoWaste Coalition leads Sunday (January 13) the send-off of 51 containers back to South Korea from Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Tons of garbage have been dumped in Barangay Sta. Cruz since July last year. (Photo by Divina M. Suson)


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