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BoC ordered to form task force to guard against garbage shipments

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Tons of Canadian garbage left in the Philippines for years arrived back home last month, putting an end to a festering diplomatic row that highlighted how Asian nations have grown tired of being the world’s trash dump. — PHILIPPINE STAR FILE PHOTO

FINANCE SECRETARY Carlos G. Dominguez III has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to create a team to guard against future attempts to bring waste material into the Philippines.

“[t]he strike team that he wants at the BoC will be akin to a special environmental strike force that will be activated to guard against the entry of hazardous materials in the country,” the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement on Thursday.

“It’s time we put up something like an environmental unit in the Customs (bureau) to really act on this garbage issue,” Mr. Dominguez was quoted as saying in the statement.

According to the Finance Department, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero proposed to his agency’s counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region to cooperate not only on preventing the entry of drugs but also garbage.

The DoF said other countries responded positively to Mr. Guerrero’s proposal.

Between 2013 and 2014, 69 containers with garbage were shipped to the Philippines from Canada. On May 30 the containers were finally shipped back.

“Malaysia was thanking the Philippines for setting the example in this waste problem, because now it has come to the consciousness of the international community,” Mr. Guerrero was quoted as saying in the statement.

Meanwhile, the DoF also noted that the South Korean government has committed to take back 5,176 metric tons (MT) of waste material shipped to the Philippines last year.

The South Korean shipments are currently stored at a PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority site in Misamis Oriental. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

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