By Chito Chavez
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has filed a request that would track down eight of the 103 containers of illegal Canadian garbage shipments that was ordered by the Tarlac provincial government to be returned to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Wastes from 26 of the 103 containers were unloaded between June and July 2015 at the landfill operated by the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC) in Kalangitan, Capas, Tarlac until the provincial government stopped it.
MCWMC complied with the provincial order stopping the further disposal of wastes from Canada and returned to the BOC the eight containers that arrived in the facility while the content of the 26 containers were being unloaded.
To stop foreign waste disposal in the province, the Tarlac Provincial Board adopted Resolution No. 057-2015 banning the dumping of any garbage from overseas at the Kalangitan landfill and anywhere in Tarlac.
The request was filed under the government’s Freedom of Information program.
Aileen Lucero, the group’s national coordinator, filed the request with tracking no: #BOC-661823304998 after getting a confirmation from the BOC that 34 of the 103 containers have already been disposed of locally and only 69 containers will be shipped back to Canada.
BOC Spokesperson Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria told the EcoWaste Coalition that 67 of the remaining containers are sitting at the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC) and the other two are at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
“We are really curious as to where the wastes from the eight containers went after top officials of Tarlac, as well as Bulacan, objected to the dumping of Canadian wastes in landfills operating in their provinces. Were they buried or, God forbid, burned?” asked Lucero.
“We therefore request the BOC, in line with Executive Order 2, series of 2016, to disclose records pertaining to the local disposal of the eight containers of Canadian garbage. Full disclosure of the information will help clear the air. The people have the right to know,” she added.
EO 2, s. 2016, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2016, is the enabling order that operationalizes the Freedom of Information in the Executive Branch of the government in line with the state policies to full disclosure and transparency in public service.