Amid the so-called Korean craze, a lawmaker on Monday called for the return of some 51 container vans reportedly filled with solid garbage back to South Korea.
In a privilege speech, Iligan Rep. Frederick Siao, citing the Bureau of Customs (BOC), said the shipment of garbage entered the Port of Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental last July 24.
“As representative of Iligan City, I say that the residents of Iligan City reject these 51 containers of garbage from South Korea. We demand that the consignee, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp., and its shipper based in South Korea to pay for any and all expenses on the return of the garbage to South Korea,” Siao said.
On October 24, Siao said, Verde Soko, through its representative, filed for the lifting of abandonment of the shipment.
“It was only on that day, October 24, that Customs realized the shipment had been there for a total of four months,” said Siao.
“This matter also involves our laws on solid-waste management, Customs, tariffs, and the international agreement known as the ‘Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,’” he said.
The lawmaker, quoting the BOC, said the 51 containers of garbage came onboard the MV Affluent Ocean, which could be “the biggest shipment of waste that has entered the country.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker asked the Departments of Environment, Trade (DTI), the Interior and of Justice to shut down and seize all the assets of Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp.
“We want all the officers and supervisors of Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. arrested, charged and undergo trial for violating our laws. We want these culprits on the hold-departure list to prevent their escape through our international airports and seaports,” he said.
Siao also asked the DENR, DTI, DILG and local government officials of Tagoloan to file administrative and criminal charges against all personnel who approved, processed and signed off on any of the permits and clearances of Verde Soko.
“We want the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a note verbale or diplomatic protest against the Republic of Korea. We want our DFA to implore upon the Government of South Korea to arrest, shut down and prosecute the cohorts of Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. in South Korea,” he added.
Siao also asked the DFA to invoke the Basel Convention to which the Philippines and South Korea are both parties.
“If South Korea refuses to budge, then we take the necessary measures as defined in the Basel Convention and its procedures,” he added.
“This is the second time in recent memory that garbage has been shipped to the Philippines from another country. The first one was from Canada, and we want both the DENR and DFA to report to Congress on the status of the garbage from Canada,” Siao said.