Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Canadian Garbage Mess (Update No. 4)

By Anton Antonio
September 10, 2015

I have keenly been following the Canadian garbage problem since it started in June 2013.  Previous to this article, I have already published three updates and other related articles about the Canadian garbage dumped in the Philippines.  Here is another update on this messy problem.  Please read…

By Ruth Abbey Gita
September 9, 2015

MANILA – Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda called Wednesday for the repatriation of Canadian garbage dumped at a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac.  “The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should maintain their firm stand on the return of the waste, and Canada, either the government or the private firm, should fund it,” Legarda said at a Senate probe into the household wastes that were shipped from Canada to the Philippines.  Legarda recalled that the Japanese government funded in 1999 the return of the 122 containers containing medical and household waste exported to the Philippines by a private firm.  “If Japan was able to do it, I am certain that Canada can also do it and would have the resources to do so,” she said.  She added that entry and eventual dumping of waste from Canada to the country is also against Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.  Earlier reports said that in 2003, at least 26 container vans of the Canadian waste had been unloaded in a private landfill at Sitio Kalangitan, Capas, Tarlac, operates by the Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation (MCWMP).  Tarlac Vice Governor Enrique Cojuangco, Jr. said the Senate should amend pertinent laws to prevent the dumping of garbage in the province from happening again and determine what would be the final solution to solve the matter.  He expressed fear that at any given time, some 68 containers of the garbage that are still in Cebu would be dumped in Tarlac.  “The position of Tarlac people is that we --- Filipinos --- are not dumping ranch of foreign nations.  The people of Tarlac would like to see a permanent solution that Tarlac be free from foreign garbage, be it toxic or non-toxic.  And I believe, the rest of the Philippines would like the same as well,” Cojuangco said.  Police Major Nicomedes Enad, chief of Environmental Protection Unit, Enforcement and Security Service of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), said other countries are allowed to dump their garbage to the Philippines as long as they have permits from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and said a permit was issued for the Canadian waste but it was “misdeclared”.  Under DENR Administrative Order 28, series of 1994, all recyclable materials, containing hazardous substances, can be imported to the country as long as it is “homogenous” or all of the same kind.  But Geri Geronimo Sanez, chief of Hazardous Waste Management Section of DENR-EMB, said they discovered that the recyclable waste in some of the 15 imported containers was mixed with municipal waste.  “I asked my staff to conduct inspection on 15 (containers).  We discovered that the garbage was manually segregated.  That’s a violation,” Sanez said.  MCWMC president and general manager Rufo Colayco defended their decision to accept the Canadian garbage.  “Let me tell you how this thing happened from my end.  One day in May, (Customs) Commissioner (Alberto) Lina asked to see me, and he said, “Rufo, I have a request to make.  Please help me out.  This garbage thing has a pain in the a**.  You’re the one who can help us.’  I said, ‘How?’  He said, ‘Accept it,’” Colayco said.  “Now on at least one occasion… the (BOC) staff arrived in our place and we sent it (the waste) back because I told Bert, ‘Your boys didn’t do the right job.’  That’s how careful we are,” he added.  Colayco is referring to the DENR’s incorrect finding on the containers that almost all of these contain recyclable waste but they found out that about 25 to 30 percent consist of municipal waste.  Responding to Escudero’s query who decided to dump the garbage to the Kalangitan landfill, DENR-EMB concurrent director Juan Miguel Cuna said it was the inter-agency committee composed of the DENR, BOC and the Department of Foreign Affairs.  Escudero, chairman of the Senate environment and natural resources committee, said the inter-agency could cite the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement to convince Canada to take back its waste.  The Basel Convention prohibits the trade of toxic and hazardous wastes unless a country consents to it and it requires the exporting country to take back illegal shipments.  “We are asking the inter-agency committee who decided to allow (Canada) to dump and dispose their garbage to the Philippines (to act on the issue).  We are already confronting issues regarding the country’s own garbage and yet, we are accepting other countries’ waste,” Escudero, who led the probe, said in an interview after the hearing.  “We must send back the garbage to where it came from.  The Philippines is not a garbage dump and we should not accept (such perception),” he added.  Escudero also asked the DENR to give the Senate a roster of firms that are given permits to import recyclable materials to avoid misdeclaration of containers.” --- Sunnex

There are other news accounts on what transpired at the Senate yesterday.  (Please see additional items included as references below.)

There really is no substitute for vigilance in cases like these.  We are glad that both local government executives and legislators are adhering to their sworn duties.  Umaasa po kami na hindi po ninyo kami tatalikuran sa problemang ito.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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REFERENCES:, (2015). “Senators Call for Repatriation of Canadian Waste”.  Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from, (2015). “Senate Probes Canada Waste Dumped in Tarlac”.  Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from, (2015). “Senate Urged to Ban Foreign Waste Dumping Send Back Canada Trash”.  Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from

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