By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is seeking a congressional probe on the supposed illegal exportation of over 25,000 metric tons of garbage from South Korea to the city of Cebu in February this year.
She said there is a need for Congress to step in and conduct an investigation to ferret out the truth about the South Korean garbage, and to determine the persons responsible for the supposed illegal exportation.
She said a congressional probe is warranted to inquire into whether the present environmental and customs laws are adequate to safeguard the Philippines from illegal dumping of foreign waste, and that our enforcement bodies are sufficiently armed in the face of the onslaught of foreign garbage.
“Cebuanos were shocked to discover that over 25,000 metric tons of trash from South Korea had been exported to Cebu, had made it past customs clearance and had been dumped in an open dumpsite in Barangay Tingub, Mandaue City,” Garcia said in filing House Resolution 1155.
“Whatever the ultimate destination of the foreign garbage, the fact is that the same had actually arrived, had been released from customs, had been dumped in a landfill in Cebu, had exposed Cebuanos to unknown and unchecked hazards, and had caused Filipino taxpayers the inconvenience and expense of their hauling and repatriation,” Garcia said.
She noted that recent reports showed that the trash was initially meant for dumping at a sanitary landfill in Cebu, which earlier had been ordered closed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), for having long outlived its normal life span.
“This illegal exportation of trash to the Philippines could not have happened with the connivance of government officials, considering that no one would export trash without the assurance that a dumpsite or landfill would accommodate it, and that it would not be barred from entry by customs and other relevant regulatory agencies,” Garcia said.
She noted that this is not the first time that garbage from foreign lands has been dumped in the Philippines, recalling that the illegal dumping of trash from Vancouver, Canada in the Philippines in 2013.
“This most recent incident in Cebu proves that some foreigners apparently find our laws and our regulatory environment lax enough to risk illegally exporting garbage to our country,” she laments.