By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
A BUREAU of Customs official here has welcomed the plan of the Department of Finance to create a special strike team within the agency to address the problem on the entry of garbage from other countries.
The proposal was broached by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez even as he directed directed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to look into the possible creation of a special strike team after the Customs chief reported that he has urged his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to strengthen the law enforcement capabilities of the organization’s member-states not just in the anti-drug campaign but also in preventing the region from becoming a dumping ground for hazardous materials such as garbage of other countries.
Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port collector John Simon said: “That’s good! We shall now have a nationwide awareness and monitoring of waste smuggling in the Philippines.”
The MCT in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental has become the entry point of tons of garbage coming from other countries.
Last year, 6,500 metric tons of mostly discarded plastic materials from South Korea were intercepted by the Customs, about 1,500 metric tons of which have already been shipped back a few months ago.
Just recently, wastes from Hong Kong and Australia made their way to the MCT, but were flagged by the BOC-10.
“It’s time we put up something like an environmental unit in the Customs to really act on this garbage issue,” Dominguez was quoted as saying in an article posted on the DOF website.
In the same article, Dominguez said the strike team that he wants at the BOC will be similar to a special environmental strike force team that will be activated to guard to entry of hazardous materials in the country.