By LITO RULONA
with EDWIN IYO
ONE of Misamis Oriental’s representatives filed a bill for a total ban on the importation and exportation of trash in time for the shipping of tons of electronic wastes brought into the province back to Hong Kong yesterday.
Rep. Juliette Uy of the province’s 2nd District filed House Bill 9207 in an effort to put a stop to what she said is the practice of other countries and companies overseas of sending their garbage to the Philippines. Uy said it “is an insult to all Filipinos and an affront to our laws.”
Uy filed the proposed law the same day the Bureau of Customs sent back 2.561 tons of electronic waste from the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, to Hong Kong.
MICT collector John Simon led a group during the send off of a container van full of some 22 thousand kilograms of electronic wastes.
Simon said the contents of the container van, discovered by them after it was offloaded from a vessel, were found to be highly hazardous.
“E-wastes have chemical contents that are just too much,” Simon said.
Environment Management Bureau director Reynaldo Degamo said the e-wastes have no value.
“Basura talaga siya,” Degamo said.
Simon said these were misdeclared as “electronic accessories.”
The garbage from Hong Kong were brought into the Tagoloan port early this year. A month after it was the container van was offloaded, officials discovered that the contents were trash.
Rep.Uy said the country is already “awash with millions of tons of solid wastes, liquefied wastes, and toxic wastes.
“Our rivers, lakes, seashores, and seas are massively polluted by these wastes. Our cities, factories, and homes produce garbage like there’s no tomorrow.”
Uy said the hands of local government officials are already full in handling the waste disposal problems in their localities. and the last thing they need are imported trash.
“We already have a lot of our own garbage. The more garbage we produce, the shorter and more polluted our tomorrow will become. We certainly need not import any more garbage,” Uy said.
She pointed to Tagoloan where she said over 5,000 tons of garbage from South Korea that were brought in last year have yet to be shipped back. This, she said, was aggravated by the shipments of wastes from Australia and Hong Kong.
At the capitol, provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III filed a resolution asking the provincial legislature to start an official investigation into the garbage shipments.
Sabal, chairman of the provincial board’s environment committee, noted that those who allegedly misdeclared the trash were companies based in Misamis Oriental.
“We have become a recipient of the hazardous garbage from other countries. Those involved are big companies situated in the municipality of Lugait, specifically Holcim Cement Corp., [that] reportedly import garbage coming from Australia,” Sabal said.
He said environmentalists have been pressuring the capitol to act.
“Summon those responsible for the entry of wastes,” Sabal said.
He said Holcim executives have agreed to cooperate and answer questions during an official inquiry by the provincial board.
The provincial board scheduled the investigation next month.