At least two senators on Friday called for an investigation on the alleged failure of the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Foreign Affairs to thoroughly inspect imported shipments and to file a diplomatic protest against Canada for the supposed illegal offloading of solid waste in the country.
Senator JV Ejercito said he found it hard to believe that the BOC was hoodwinked by Chronic Inc., the Canadian waste company that brought the waste to the Philippines, in its declaration that all 50 shipments simply contained materials for recycling.
“I am sure Chronic Inc. has a backer behind all these transactions given their audacity on this issue,” he said in a press statement.
He also believes that the DFA did not just heedlessly decide to neglect its duty by treating this transaction as purely commercial.
“I am convinced that someone intervened for Canada’s case, and this is what we will probe in the Senate hearings,” said Ejercito.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr said he would also seek a probe on the dumping of waste illegally shipped from Canada in the sanitary landfill operated by the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. in Capas, Tarlac.
“We object to any kind of illegal dumping of wastes, be it local or foreign. But this seems to be one of the worst cases that we have heard about na parang lumalabas na nag-iismuggle tayo ng basura papasok sa Pilipinas. Saan ka naman nakarinig ng ganun?” he asked.
Marcos had met with Tarlac officials led by Gov. Victor Yap, Vice Governor Enrique Cojuangco, Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap, and Gerona town Mayor Dennis Go, who is the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Tarlac chapter, to discuss the issue.
Twenty-six out of the 50 container vans of waste shipped from Canada in 2013 had already been dumped in the landfill the Tarlac, but the provincial government has already ordered a stop to any further disposal.
Marcos said there is a need to ensure the welfare of Tarlac residents and also to prevent the Philippines from earning the dubious reputation as garbage importer.
“We also heard reports the dumping is being done in secret, during the night. We don’t even know the content of the trucks hauling the waste, whether it is ordinary household garbage, medical waste, or toxic waste. That’s something we have to look into,” he said.
“Before the situation gets worse, we should investigate this issue. If necessary, we must amend our laws and impose more stringent regulations so that we won’t be known all over the world as a garbage importer,” he added.
In an interview with GMA News TV's News to Go on Friday, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Jeonas Leonas clarified that the waste from Canada were neither toxic nor hazardous.
“Base sa inter-agency group, nag-conduct ang DENR-Environmental Management Bureau ng waste analyzation and characterization study para malaman yung talagang laman ng container vans dahil may haka-haka na ang laman ay toxic waste, na merong diapers,” he said.
“Based sa kinonduct na WACS, talagang napag-alaman na hindi naman ito toxic and hazardous waste at ito ay naglalaman ng municipal solid waste. Ibig sabihin ay ito yung ordinaryong household waste, food waste, at mga plastik at karton,” Leonas added.