While the presence of Canadian trash in the country remains an unresolved issue, another shipment of garbage imported from Australia was intercepted in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
According to Jun Veneracion's exclusive report in GMA's 24 Oras on Wednesday, seven container vans with shredded municipal waste were held in Mindanao Container Terminal.
"Ito ang nakapasok sa ating basura galing sa Australia. Kayo ang humusga kung ito ba ay makabubuti o hindi sa ating bayan, straight from Australia," said John Simon, Bureau of Customs collector.
The broker of the shipment was also the one that handled the transport of tons of trash from South Korea to Tagoloan in July and October 2018.
"The broker has to answer a lot kasi ang dami niyang pagkakamali sa kanyang pagdedeklara," Simon said.
The intercepted shipment was declared as processed engineered fuel (PEF) and municipal waste. Its consignee was the Holcim Philippines Inc.
Holcim said that PEF, made from processed trash, is an alternative fuel used in producing cement.
Representatives of the said construction materials company were present during the inspection of the shipment.
They said that Holcim has long been using PEF instead of coal fuel.
"For us, this is really not garbage. This is low-grade fuel, this is processed engineered fuel," Alan Cuyno, technical manager of the Holcim Philippines Inc. said.
"So ito sorted, pili, piling-pili. The sources as well are non-hazardous," he added.
The BOC, however, said that the shipment still included trash.
"Kahit anong gawin rason d'yan, na sasabihing panggatong siya, the fact na basura 'yan, banned item 'yan," said Joel Pinawin, supervisor of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-CDO.
The stalled shipment will be subjected to scientific tests to ascertain whether these are indeed PEF or just ordinary garbage. The results will be used by the BOC to determine if an entity needs to be penalized.
The EcoWaste Coalition, on the other hand, said that these are clearly imported waste.
"Mas mabuti na ibalik sa Australia itong inangkat na residual garbage," EcoWaste Coalition adviser Manny Calonzo said.
A probe by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is also ongoing. — Dona Magsino/ MDM, GMA News