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Verde Soko not yet off the hook, says Uy

MISAMIS Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy on Tuesday said the firm VNS Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. would still need to be held accountable for the two shipments of wastes to the province despite the  pending return of the garbage to South Korea.

Uy said Verde Soko should shoulder the arrastre, demurrage and clean-up costs.

She said Verde Soko is not yet off the hook, and the Lower House would pursue the investigation into the “dumping of foreign wastes” in the country.

“It is my expectation that the importer Verde Soko, a locator company in the Phividec Industrial Estate, will bear the arrastre, demurrage, clean up, and any other costs pertaining to garbage brought in,” reads part of a statement released by Uy.

She pointed out that Verde Soko is not yet free of responsibility even after the garbage is sent back to Korea as the firm “will have to answer to the provincial government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and to the Phividec Industrial Estate Authority for all the environmental and business operation violations relative to this garbage importation.”

Uy added: “The government agencies investigating this matter also have to formally report to Congress on the actions they have taken to address this current matter and to make sure it does not happen again.”

She said the lessons learned from the Verde Soko case should be applied to the Canada garbage case wherever relevant.

Uy said there is also the need to have the Department of Foreign Affairs follow-up with Canada on the legal and legislative actions they should have taken by now.

Supported by other Mindanaoan lawmakers, Uy filed House Resolution 2317 asking the House Committee on Ecology to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the illegal entry and dumping of hazardous plastic garbage from South Korea in the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Tagoloan is one of the towns in the 2nd district of Misamis Oriental being represented by Uy. The Verde Soko plant is located in Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan.

Uy said Verde Soko, Phividec officials, BOC officials, and local officials are not yet off the hook. She said the investigation would commence when Congress resumes session.

At the same time, she lauded South Korea for agreeing to shoulder the US$47,430 in shipping costs without the arrastre and demurrage charges.

Uy said she appreciated the efforts and time spent by officials of South Korea, and the Bureau of Customs who worked on the details of the return of the shipment.

She said she expected that on or before Jan. 30, there would be bulk shipment consisting of 5,197.91 tons of wastes as agreed upon by the two panels of officials.

“I thank Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero for guiding the talks to resolve this matter swiftly,” Uy said. (pr)

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