DENR exec says Canada’s garbage shipment to PH is more of ‘bilateral issue’
Amid a standing court order to return containers of garbage to Canada, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) refused to comment on the issue on Tuesday, saying the matter has become a “bilateral issue.”
Geri-Geronimo Sañez, chief of the Hazardous Waste Management Section of the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, said during a press conference on the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila that there is also a pending criminal case filed related to the matter, however, he refused to elaborate.
“I’m giving it to the foreign affairs department because that is a bilateral issue,” he added.
Sañez was referring to the order of Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag on June 30, 2016, directing the importers to return the container vans of mixed trash to Canada.
The said order was in accordance with Republic Act 6969, or the Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, Section 14 (Criminal Offenses and Penalties) which states that “the person or firm responsible or connected with the bringing or importation into the country of hazardous or nuclear wastes shall be under obligation to transport or send back said prohibited wastes.”
“The (local) disposal and destruction of the wastes will violate equally important environmental laws such as R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act,” Alisuag added.
Between 2013 to 2014, the Bureau of Customs had intercepted a total of 103 containers of mixed garbage from Canada declared as “recyclable scrap plastics” which the DENR later certified as non-recyclable.
During the first visit of Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Manila two years ago, he said a “Canadian solution” was in the works to address the issue and he “vowed to make legislative changes to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.”
Trudeau, as one of Asean’s dialogues partners, is participating in this year’s 31st Asean Summit and Related meetings in the country, and is holding a press briefing as of this posting. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.