By LITO RULONA and NITZ ARANCON
PHILIPPINE and South Korean officials have agreed to start shipping out over 5,177 metric tons of garbage from the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan town to South Korea by the end of this month, Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy announced yesterday.
In a press statement, Uy said it was agreed during a bilateral meeting Thursday that in the next two weeks, the consignee VNS Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. and a logistics firm would rebag and move the garbage from the property in Sta. Cruz occupied by Verde Soko at Phividec to the Mindanao Container Terminal Port in Tagoloan.
If plans don’t miscarry, the gradual shipment of the garbage out of the country would start on June 30.
Uy said the South Koreans agreed to “find and provide” a vessel once their Philippine counterparts inform them that at least 20 contain vans of garbage are ready to be shipped out.
The agreement was signed at the Mindanao Container Terminal Port in Tagoloan.
Uy said the June 13 meeting took the whole day and another meeting would be made to tackle other matters.
At the meeting were Director General Yeong-Dae Jung of South Korea’s Ministry of Environment, Rep. Uy, Customs district collector Floro Calixihan, Mindanao Container Terminal Port collector John Simon, Misamis Oriental provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III, and lawyer Abbas Lao of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau in Region 10.
During the meeting, Uy asked the South Korean government to share with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) relevant information that can help in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for last years shipment of tons of garbage from South Korea.
Provincial board member Sabal, who represented Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, said officials admitted during the meeting that the South Korean wastes were indeed “hazardous” and not just plastic materials for recycling.
He said the agreement the South Koreans would spend some P17.5 million for the return of the garbage.
Sabal said the capitol would assist in the rebagging of the over 5,000 metric tons of trash.
He said officials have coordinated with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the police “aron masiguro nga matapos gyud sa Verde Soko ang pag-repack sa maong mga basura, aron mabalik na kini sa South Korea sa labing sayo nga panahon.”
But even when the trash have already been sent back to Korea, Sabal said the cases against those responsible for bringing in the trash would be pursued.