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Tarlac gov stops dumping of Canadian trash in Tarlac landfill

/ 07:06 PM July 13, 2015
TRASH packed in container vans that were shipped from Canada in 2013 are unloaded at the sanitary landfill of the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. in Capas, Tarlac. PHOTO COURTESY OF MCWMC

TRASH packed in container vans that were shipped from Canada in 2013 are unloaded at the sanitary landfill of the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. in Capas, Tarlac. PHOTO COURTESY OF MCWMC

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap on Monday asked the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC) to suspend the disposal of illegally imported trash from Canada that the Bureau of Customs (BoC) seized two years ago and which the agency contracted to be buried at the MCWMC’s sanitary landfill in Capas town.

Yap said he would only allow the resumption of the disposal if the MCWMC could present a certification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) explaining the nature of the wastes.

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Trash from at least 29 forty-foot container vans had been dumped at the landfill as of July 8. The other containers are in Subic Bay Freeport, where these had been transferred to ease congestion at the Port of Manila.

Yap said his demand to see the DENR certification was his response to the complaints that he and other Tarlac officials had been receiving from residents of Bamban and Capas towns. Residents there complained of stench, noise, dust and mud as trucks transported garbage, he said.

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The landfill sits on 100 hectares of rolling hills at Sub-zone D of the Clark Special Economic Zone. It can be reached via Sitio Kalangitan in Barangay Cutcut II in Capas or Sitio Pagasa in Barangay Anupul in Bamban.

Yap wants to see a report on the waste analysis and characterization study (WSVD) made on Nov. 10, 2014 by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and approved by EMB Director Jonas Leones, a copy given by the MCWMC to the INQUIRER showed.

The WACS report said EMB analyzed samples from three container vans and these consisted of “municipal solid waste or garbage… which cannot be recycled and destined for disposal.”

Additional documents showed the WACS was used by EMB to advise BoC and a regional trial court in Manila in recommending a final disposal.

Judge Paulino Gallegos, in an order on April 1, 2015, directed BoC to “facilitate the processes leading to the dispersal of the illegal shipment and/or toxic contraband.” The order referred to 34 container vans. The judge also ordered the container vans to be released to the local shipper, Le Soleil.

A May 7 report by the BoC’s condemnation committee referred to 55 container vans.

Rufo Colayco, MCWMC president and chief executive officer, said a copy of the WACS report was emailed to Yap at 4 p.m. Monday.

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“[WCMC continues to do] a job we were requested to perform in order to put an end to a long festering issue, in a practical and sensible manner and in full compliance with environmental protection law,” Colayco said.

“The issue that some have raised — that under international protocols, the garbage that was imported two years ago must be repatriated regardless of its being non-toxic — is evidently not a valid issue,” he said.

The MCWMC, Colayco said, has undertaken this task to help the national government end a problem “that appears to have unduly disrupted port operations and which has unduly distracted the government from its proper tasks.”

Diana Figueroa, president of the Concerned Citizens of Bamban, has warned that residents would barricade roads leading to the landfill but none had been put up on Monday afternoon.

Colayco said he advised guards at the landfill not to use force should residents try to block the dumping.

“We will obtain the identity of all the troublemakers and avail of all applicable legal measures to redress their wrongful disruption of services that we are performing on behalf of the national government,” he said.

Colayco said the MCWMC would get the Clark Development Corp. and the provincial and national governments to intervene should the Bamban government pass a resolution banning the passage of garbage trucks in the town.

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Canada, Court order, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environment Management Bureau, garbage dumping, garbage smuggling, Global Nation, Metro Clark Waste Management Corp., Paulino Gallegos, Philippines, Rufo Colayco, Tarlac, Tarlac provincial government, trial court judges, Victor Yap
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