The Philippines will ship back to Canada the wastes that arrived in the country in early 2013.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the Philippines made this announcement in a statement on September 6, 2016.
President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still mayor of Davao City in July 2015, called on then President Benigno Aquino III to protest Canada’s trash in the Philippines.
Aquino did not raise the issue in his bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015.
The Canadian prime minister was confronted with the question during a press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila in November that year.
Trudeau was non-committal on the call of Filipino environmental groups for his country to bring back the container vans of trash illegally shipped to the Philippines.
The BOC said in the statement that an inter-agency committee has agreed to push through with a court’s order on the repatriation of the 2,500 tons of trash that came from Vancouver.
The inter-agency committee includes the BOC, Departments of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Natural Resources, and Justice.
In a meeting on September 5, the committee expressed favor on the June 30 decision of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 1 Judge Tita Bughao-Alisuag, ordering the shipping back of the wastes to Canada at the expense of the importer.
The June 30 court order covers fifty forty-footer (50×40) containers found to have assorted heterogeneous plastic materials, all consigned to Chronic Plastics Inc.
The containers, parked at the Subic and Manila International Container Yards, are said to be causing port congestion, posing hazards to public health, and incurring expenses on the part of BOC.
The Manila regional trial court will conduct another hearing on the case on September 30, with the Department of Justice set to file a motion for the execution of the order.
In February 2014, the BOC filed charges against Adelfa Eduardo, owner of Chronic Plastics, a firm in Valenzuela City, for allegedly violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) and the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 (Republic Act 6969).
Also charged were the company’s licensed customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon.
Republic Act 6969 prohibits the importation of hazardous waste to the Philippines. The TCCP holds an importer criminally liable for illegal imports.
Canada had said it does not have a law that would force it to take back the garbage, and asked the Philippines to dispose of them locally.