TORONTO, Canada — President Benigno S. Aquino III said the Philippine government has been taking the necessary steps to address the concerns regarding the shipping containers filled with wastes that arrived in the country from Canada.
President Aquino said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has already filed criminal charges against the importer, Chronic Plastics, and the importing company’s licensed brokers for the illegal shipments.
Some 50 shipping containers filled with various wastes have been smuggled into Manila from Canada in June to August 2013.
During an interview with the Philippine media delegation covering his state visit to Canada, President Aquino said concerned government agencies have already taken steps to address the situation.
In February 2014, the BOC filed a complaint against Chronic Plastics and the company’s licensed brokers for violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, and the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 (Republic Act 6969).
In December 2014, after the preliminary investigation, the Prosecution filed a total of 15 criminal cases before the Manila Regional Trial Court against the importer and the importing company’s licensed customs brokers.
The Interagency Technical Working Group (TWG) spearheaded by DENR conducted Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) to determine the contents of the shipping containers.
The results of the WACS conducted revealed that the shipping containers contained “baled municipal solid wastes or garbage that contains residuals which cannot be recycled, but can be treated and disposed of.”
The TWG recommended that the “wastes be processed by recognized treatment and disposal facilities complying with the applicable environmental standards.”
“The wastes are considered hazardous. They’ve been in the Port of Manila for two years. They pose a risk to public health,” the President said.
President Aquino said the TWG recommended disposal of the wastes either through cement kiln co-processing or direct disposal in a landfill.
“The processing and disposal of the wastes will be conducted once the necessary court order is obtained,” the President added.
Last month, the RTC ordered the BOC to facilitate the disposal of the illegal shipments, and to immediately release the container vans to Le Soliel Shipping Agencies Inc. once the contents are properly disposed of.
“Currently, the Prosecution and the BOC are pursuing the necessary inventory, documentation, and photographing of the wastes prior to its disposal, to be used as evidence in the trial against the accused,” the President said.