HANDLING OF CANADA WASTES UNDER SCUTINY
BY HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS
TOGETHER WITH PUBLIC SERVICES ADVOCATES
ECOWASTE, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Public Services labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), SENTRO, and ANG NARS Party-List strongly condemn the importation of the 50 forty-footer container vans filled with Canadian garbage, the subsequent undisclosed importation of additional wastes and the surreptitious transport and dumping of imported Canadian garbage at Capas, Tarlac.
In a press statement, Eileen Lucero of ECOWASTE Coalition said that, “Dumping of the imported Canadian garbage in Tarlac - or anywhere in the Philippines for that matter - violates existing laws. Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation [MCWMC] should realize that those illegally imported garbage are in fact evidence in various court cases filed by Bureau of Customs (BOC) against the importers in different courts in Manila.”
“Cases are pending before three Regional Trial Courts of Manila, one of which is for violation of Republic Act 6969 otherwise known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, a law that punishes importation of hazardous and toxic wastes. Dumping these imported garbage while cases are pending tampered with evidence to help determine the guilt of the importer. Basically, MCWMC and BOC jeopardized the capacity of the courts where cases are pending to properly decide on the matter,” declared Paeng Lopez of GAIA.
Moreover, the ANG NARS Party-list, Rep. Leah S. Paquiz said that the BOC and MCWMC should “explain why they went ahead with dumping the Canada wastes knowing fully well that there are still pending cases particularly, the case for violation of an environmental law against the importation of hazardous and toxic wastes.”
The BOC filed a case of violation of Republic Act 6969 on February 20, 2014 with the Prosecutor’s Office alleging that the DENR found that contents of the shipments were not allowed to be imported in the country pursuant to the DENR Administrative Order No. 1994-28, which was the implementing guideline for RA 6969. On September 30, 2014, the prosecution filed the information with the Regional Trial Court finding probable cause.
“For that matter, the BOC or the DENR is now estopped from declaring the illegal shipments as non-toxic or non-hazardous because it was the BOC, through the findings of the DENR, that filed the case for violation of RA 6969 in the first place.”, raised by Josua Mata of Sentro. He further stated as a point of fact that, “The President of the Philippines must take this matter as an issue… after all, he failed to raise the problem during his dialogue with Canada government.”
Rep. Paquiz urged the public to be vigilant of what will happen to the imported Canadian garbage as this could greatly impact the health of their children, and even their children’s children, as the toxic wastes may enter our water system and not to mention affect the air that we breathe. She asked local government units all over the Philippines to close their doors on these dangerous wastes “as bravely as the province of Tarlac.
“Canada is one humane society and responsible member of global community; we hope that Canada will remain so. The government should implement existing environmental laws, including international conventions like the Basel Convention and return the garbage to where it came from. Canada, take back your garbage!” stated Annie Geron of PSLINK.
In furtherance of its advocacy in Nursing the Environment, ANG NARS is considering on filing additional resolution in Congress in order to update its previously filed House Resolution No.1525 entitled, A resolution directing the committee on Ecology to investigate in aid of legislation, the unlawful importation of fifty container vans filled with mixed wastes and garbage from Canada.
The group is in collective agreement that this is a very serious matter. The government should make a stand and return the garbage back to Canada immediately and not allow it to be dumped anywhere in our country. If the DENR will not declare the Canada wastes as hazardous and toxic, the group will also explore other legal options for the government to heed the need to return the garbage back to Canada. #