Numerous illegal shipments of garbage from wealthy countries might be headed this way as the Philippines has been “targeted” as a dumping ground for its lax customs controls, a minority lawmaker stated on Friday.
Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay party list group said, “We’ve been targeted as a dumping ground owing to our inadequate controls at various ports of entry.” said
Atienza warned of a likely increase in delivery of containers full of trash in the months ahead, despite efforts to return waste shipments to Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.
Atienza gave a statement, “North America and Europe are looking for new destinations for their unwanted materials after China banned the importation of used plastics and other recyclables.”
Chinese recyclers used to import and process much of the western world’s reusable waste, rendering to the former environment secretary and Manila mayor.
But Atienza noted that China’s “National Sword” policy, which it adopted in January 2018, put Chinese recyclers out of business.
“Just like prohibited drugs, contaminated trash in shipping containers are sneaking into our ports mainly due to corruption and ineffective checks,” he stated.
Last month, President Duterte ordered the delivery of tons of trash back to Canada, forcing the latter to pull out 69 shipping containers of garbage, mostly plastics and household kitchen waste, which had been unlawfully shipped to the Philippines in batches from 2013 to 2014.
On June 3, the Philippines also shipped back 2.6 tons of shredded electronic and plastic waste from Hong Kong that arrived last year at the port of Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental province.
Seven containers filled with municipal waste from Australia were interrupted at Tagoloan port in Misamis Oriental, reportedly brokered by the same company involved in another shipment of garbage coming from South Korea last year.
The South Korean government has committed to help ship back 5,177 metric tons of plastic garbage that was illegally brought to the Philippines last year.
Atienza urged the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to impose compulsory preshipment inspection (PSI) of containerized imports in order to thwart all contraband trying to enter the country, which includes illegal trash and narcotics.
PSI is the practice of necessitating importers to engage accredited third-party surveyors to verify shipment details, such as the price, quantity and quality of goods, before cargoes depart the exporting country.
“We are counting on PSI to effectively prevent not only illegal waste and drug shipments, but also the widespread smuggling of high-value farm products, cars, electronics, apparel and what have you, stashed in containers,” Atienza stated.
He added that this could also put an end to chronic corruption at the BOC that costs the National Treasury tens of billions of pesos in lost import taxes every year.
“Only those engaged in smuggling as well as rotten officials are opposed to PSI, because they stand to lose a lot of money from their rackets at the BOC,” Atienza concluded.