After Canada garbage row, Manila eyes waste shipped from Hong Kong, Australia

Philippines House Ecology Committee urges tougher stance on illegal shipments from other countries as well

(File photo from Philippines Bureau of Customs)

(File photo from Philippines Bureau of Customs)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the diplomatic crisis between the governments of the Philippines and Canada moves towards resolution, the Duterte administration is being advised by lawmakers to consider “repatriating” garbage shipments to Australia and Hong Kong as well.

On Sunday (May 26), the chair of the Philippines House Ecology Committee, Dakila Carlo Cua, urged President Duterte to demand that garbage shipments from Australia and Hong Kong, which have also been shipped illegally, be returned to their country of origin.

“I hope the President can also look into reports of garbage coming from Australia and Hong Kong, and issue directives for their immediate return. For its part, the Bureau of Customs should also demonstrate its tough stance against illegal shipments of garbage.”

The Inquirer reports that customs authorities discovered nine shipping containers of improperly labeled garbage from Australia upon arrival in early May at Mindanao Container Terminal. Last week authorities reportedly discovered another shipment of garbage delivered from Hong Kong in early January.

The waste from Hong Kong includes over 25,000 kilograms of crushed electronic materials, which authorities believe was sent as a test of the Philippine’s customs authority’s inspection capabilities. It was delivered Jan. 2, but was not inspected until May 22.

Authorities believe the shipping company and importer intended to ship an additional 70 containers of such waste if authorities had not intercepted it.

The recommendation from the House Ecology Committee comes as tensions between Ottawa and Manila begin to abate, with Canada agreeing to the demands of the Duterte administration, in a motion that will hopefully salvage diplomatic ties between the countries.

Dakila Carlo Cua insists it is an issue of national integrity and an environmental concern, reports Manila Bulletin.

“I understand the President’s frustration over this issue. The usual processes and channels have taken several years. This should have been dealt with right away. We cannot compromise the integrity of our environment and the health of Filipinos.”

Early last week, Duterte announced that a shipping company had been hired to return 37 of 103 shipping containers of garbage back to Canada.

Subsequently, on Wednesday (May 22), Canada’s Federal Environmental Minister, Catherine McKenna, announced that Canada had contracted a company to manage the return of the remaining containers of household and electronic waste.