PH, Canada form technical working groups for return of waste shipment

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2018 10:40 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2018 12:45 AM

MANILA - (UPDATE) Two technical working groups (TWGs) were formed Tuesday to focus on the return of garbage shipment to Canada, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.

The illegal shipment, consisting of household trash, plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers, among others, arrived in the Philippines in batches in 2013 and 2014.

The Philippine TWG is composed of representatives from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the BOC. The DENR will serve as the lead agency. 

The Philippine government is awaiting Canada’s official communication regarding their concerns, the BOC briefer stated. 

The first meeting of the two TWGs is targeted to be on the first quarter of 2019 in Manila. 

On June 30, 2016, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered the return to Canada of the 50 container vans consigned to Ontario-based private firm Chronic Plastics, Inc.

Only 16 out of the 50 container vans remained because a separate branch of the trial court in April 1, 2015 directed the disposal of the wastes and immediate release of 34 container vans owned by Le Soleil Shipping Agencies, Inc. 
Because of the immediately preceding order, the contents of these 34 container vans were disposed at the Tarlac sanitary landfill. 

The estimated cost for freight from Manila to Toronto for each of the remaining 16 40-footer containers is around $2,815.00.

As of Nov. 13, the estimated cost for the storage of the remaining 15 container vans at the Subic Container Terminal is P34,479,222.15, the BOC said.

The estimated cost for the storage of the lone container van at the Manila International Container Port is P2,298,614.81.

Representatives from the Canadian embassy on Tuesday met with DENR officials to discuss the illegal shipment of wastes to the Philippines.

In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has worked around its laws to take back the garbage shipment.

“Even though it (shipment) originally came from Canada, we had legal barriers and restrictions that prevented us from being able to take it back. Those regulations and those impediments have now been addressed, so it is now theoretically possible to get it back," he said.