[Verde Soko is not yet off the hook; House to investigate dumping of foreign wastes in our country]
Tomorrow, January 9, the 51 shipping containers of garbage at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Misamis Oriental are scheduled to be sent back to South Korea.
Misamis Oriental second district Representative Juliette Uy thanked the Government of the Republic of Korea for shouldering the $47,430 in shipping costs without the arrastre and demurrage charges.
Uy also appreciated the effort and time spent by officials of South Korea and the Philippines Bureau of Customs who worked on the details of the return of the shipment to Korea.
The congresswoman noted that on or before January 30 there will also be a bulk shipment consisting of 5,197.91 tons of waste garbage as agreed upon by the two panels of officials.
"It is my expectation that the importer Verde Soko, a locator company in the Phividec Industrial Estate will bear the arrastre, demurrage, clean up, and any other costs pertaining to garbage brought in," the Misamis Oriental solon said.
"I thank Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero for guiding the talks to resolve this matter swiftly," she added.
Congresswoman Uy pointed out that Verde Soko is not yet free of responsibility after the garbage is sent back to Korea.
"Verde Soko will have to answer to the provincial government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and to the Phividec Industrial Estate Authority for all the environmental and business operation violations relative to this garbage importation," Uy said.
"The government agencies investigating this matter also have to formally report to Congress on the actions they have taken to address this current matter and to make sure it does not happen again," she added.
Uy also said, "there is still the unresolved case of the garbage shipment from Canada."
"The lessons learned from this Verde Soko case should be applied to the Canada garbage case wherever relevant. There is also the need to have the Department of Foreign Affairs follow-up with Canada on the legal and legislative actions they should have taken by now," the congresswoman said.
Supported by other Mindanaoan lawmakers, Uy filed House Resolution 2317 asking the House Committee on Ecology to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the illegal entry and dumping of hazardous plastic garbage from South Korea in the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Tagoloan is one of the towns in the 2nd district of Misamis Oriental being represented by Uy. The Verde Soko plant is located in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan, Sitio Bugwak.
Verde Soko, Phividec officials, BOC officials, and LGU officials are not yet off the hook. The investigation will commence when Congress resumes session this January. (END)