CAGAYAN DE ORO - Thousands of tons of garbage from South Korea remain dumped in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental months after it was discovered by authorities.
Misamis Oriental Provincial Board Member Gerardo Sabal said the 51 containers of waste materials have yet to be repacked before they can be shipped back to Pyeongtaek City, where the trash originated.
The consignee of the shipment, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp, told the local government it couldn't bear the cost of the repacking.
"That is the problem now because they said they have no enough funds to do the repacking and the transfer," he said.
The shipment arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in July 2018. It was declared as plastic synthetic flakes, but instead contained used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, batteries, bulbs, and electronic equipment.
The waste materials are currently dumped at Verde Soko's facility in Barangay Sta. Cruz.
Sabal said Verde Soko paid more than a million to transfer the shipment from MICT to their facility last year.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) stressed that Verde Soko should shoulder the cost under the existing environmental laws.
"Yung environmental laws even though sinasabi na dapat sila 'yung managot walang nakalagay na provisions na may perang puwedeng huhugutan [sa gobyerno] para agad isagawa 'yun," said John Simon, port collector of MICT.
The inter-agency task force, which includes the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), BOC, Tagoloan LGU, Misamis Oriental province and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), is still looking for options to resolve the problem.
South Korean government had said they will take back the waste, but it must be repacked by the consignee first. - report from Angelo Andrade, ABS-CBN News