CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – There is a need to assess the country’s law on the environment and Customs rules and regulations to prevent wastes from other nations to enter the Philippines as lawmakers are still investigating the thousands of tons of plastic trash imported from South Korea.
The plastic garbage brought in by a company that claimed to recycle it into new products was the center of the investigation conducted by the House of Representatives’ good government and public accountability, local government, and ecology committees.
“We have to review our existing laws, since this is not the first time that we became the dumping ground of other countries in the guise of recycling,” said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, on the sidelines of the second round of the Congressional joint committee hearing on the controversial imported trash at a hotel here on Friday, March 15.
“This is clearly a scam,” Zarate said, referring to the recycling facility of Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp.
The lawmaker noted that the company’s processing plant located inside the Phividec Industrial Estate in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, is just made of bamboo poles and tarpaulin housing dilapidated machines.
Within Verde Soko’s compound is the more than 6,000 metric tons of the plastic trash, which arrived from South Korea last year.
The Verde Soko management has previously said they will use the imported plastic as raw materials for the production of plastic briquettes and pellets which will then be made into furniture items to be exported to South Korea and China.
The Bureau of Customs, however, red-flagged the plastic materials as the agency said Verde Soko did not properly declare the imported garbage and the company also failed to secure an import permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
On January 13, the Customs, with the coordination of the South Korean government, sent back 1,500 metric tons of the garbage to its country of origin.
For her part, Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy said those responsible for the importation and entry of the plastic garbage must be held accountable.
Misamis Occidental 2nd District Rep. Henry Oaminal said they will also call the attention of the Department of Health to check if the plastic trash stored at the Verde Soko facility will pose a health hazard to the residents living nearby. (davaotoday.com)