Now it’s Subic demanding removal of Canada trash
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—The chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is urging the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to remove from the free port the remaining 15 containers containing garbage illegally shipped from Canada.
“We’re negotiating with the [BOC] to take all of it out [of the free port]. We don’t want the trash here,” SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia said in a press conference on Monday.
The 15 containers were part of the 741 freight boxes shipped here in August last year in an effort to help decongest the Port of Manila.
“These containers were considered overstaying [in the Manila port area]. Out of 741 containers, 41 contained Canadian trash,” Garcia said.
He said 18 of the 741 containers were returned to Manila in September last year. Garcia said 16 of those were found to be emitting a foul smell while two others were leaking an unidentified substance.
One of the 18 containers returned to Manila had Canadian trash, he said.
Garcia said the BOC, on July 15, requested that 23 of the containers carrying trash from Canada be transported to the Clark Freeport in Pampanga province.
He said the SBMA issued gate passes to eight of the 23 containers, leaving 15 others inside the New Terminal Container 2 here.
“We’re going to tell the [BOC] that they send [the remaining containers] back to Manila. I don’t want it here,” Garcia said.
“We will just need to come up with a strong statement that we will not accept this trash,” he added.
Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC), the BOC contractor, unloaded garbage from 26 containers in its sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac province, from June 25 to July 8.
The eight containers that the local shipper, Le Soleil, transported to MCWMC’s landfill last week remained parked and unopened at noon on Monday.
Rufo Colayco, MCWMC president, said he could not bring the eight containers out of the facility at Sitio (settlement) Kalangitan, Barangay (village) Cutcut II, because Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina had yet to accept these back.
Facing protests from the Tarlac provincial board in a hearing on July 16, Colayco decided to send back to the BOC the eight containers.
MCWMC also refused to accept and dispose of the contents of these and the remaining containers, Colayco told Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco Jr. and members of the provincial board.
Cojuangco and the board clarified during the hearing that they opposed making Tarlac a “dumping ground of foreign trash.”
The owner of the containers, Zim, and the local shipper, Le Soleil, sought to recover the containers and got a court order that directed the BOC to dispose of the trash that the Environmental Management Bureau classified as “municipal solid waste.”
The BOC seized the containers in May and July 2013 due to a misdeclaration that these contained scrap materials.
“I can only send the containers out after [Lina] and [Cojuangco] have agreed where they’ll go after leaving Kalangitan. I don’t think [Lina] has succeeded in persuading [Cojuangco] to let all the rest of the trash be disposed in Kalangitan. Otherwise he would have called me by now,” Colayco said in a phone interview on Monday.
Lina, his chief of staff or the BOC information officer did not take calls on Monday.
Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap said Lina had yet to discuss the matter with him. Yap, in a July 14 letter, asked Lina to “refrain from further dumping of waste coming from areas not approved by the [board.]”
Colayco said he was constrained by his commitment to the Tarlac provincial board from accepting the 15 containers that Garcia wanted out of the Subic free port.
In a statement on March 15, the Canadian government rejected demands to ship back the trash, saying the case was a “private commercial matter involving a Canadian company and its Philippine partner.”
Originally posted: 02:20 PM July 20th, 2015
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