By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III is seeking to ban the importation of solid waste in the Philippines.
Pimentel had filed Senate Bill No. 2144, which proposes to make illegal the importation of solid wastes, as well as the use, treatment or processing of the imported wastes.
In his bill, he lamented that the Philippines is “well in the path” of being known as a country in the “global waste trade”, citing incidents of trash dumped from Canada and South Korea in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
He noted that China, which had been a “top destination” for recyclable trash, has already prohibited the importation of solid wastes, with Thailand and Vietnam following suit.
Pimentel said the Philippines should also prevent foreign waste from entering its shores “to protect and advance the right of the people to a balance and healthful ecology.”
Under the SB 2144, an entity or person who would be convicted of importing, using, treating or processing any solid waste would face imprisonment of at least 12 years to 20 years.
If the offender is a foreigner, he or she shall be deported and barred from any subsequent entry into the Philippines.
In case the offender is a corporation, association or other entities, the penalty shall be imposed upon the managing partner, president or chief executive officer, in addition to the payment of an exemplary damage of at least P500,000.
If it is a foreign entity, the director and all its responsible officers shall also be barred from entry to the Philippines, and the firm’s license to do business in the Philippines will be cancelled.
For government officials or employees who violate the proposed law, the penalties shall be automatic dismissal from office and permanent disqualification from holding any elective or appointive position shall be imposed. This is on top of the penalties provided in the bill.
Beside these proposed penalties, the bill also sought to require the person, firm, or the carrier responsible for or involved with the importation of solid waste to transport or send the imported trash back to the port of origin.
Should they fail to do so, the offender shall pay for damage of at least P500,000.
If the importation caused environmental pollution, the government shall also order the importer to eliminate the pollution.