Juli­ette: Verde Soko not yet off the hook

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - By Al­wen Salir­ing

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Juli­ette Uy of Misamis Ori­en­tal’s 2nd Dis­trict on Tues­day, Jan­uary 8, said the house probe on the garbage ship­ment from South Ko­rea to Tagoloan town will be­gin when the congress re­sumes ses­sion this month.

Uy said the im­porter, Verde Soko Philip­pines In­dus­trial Corp. is not yet

free of re­spon­si­bil­ity even if the haz­ardous waste ma­te­ri­als are shipped back to South Ko­rea.

The 1,400 tons of garbage were sup­pos­edly sched­uled to be sent back yes­ter­day but it was moved on Jan­uary 12 due to the de­lay of the ship from Maersk Ship­ping line.

Pro­vin­cial board mem­ber Ger­ardo “Boboy” Sa­bal said the 51 con­tainer vans of garbage are ready for load­ing once the ship ar­rives. He said the ship will then de­part on Sun­day morn­ing.

“Barko na lang ang gi­hu­la­tan ready na ang 51 con­tainer vans,”Sa­bal said.

The other 5,100 tons of wastes will re­main at Verde Soko’s plant site in Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan but will also be sent back af­ter a month.

“It is my ex­pec­ta­tion that the im­porter Verde Soko will bear the ar­ras­tre, de­mur­rage, clean up and any other costs per­tain­ing to the garbage brought in,”Uy said.

“I thank Cus­toms Com­mis­sioner Rey Guer­rero for guid­ing the talks to re­solve this mat­ter swiftly,”she added.

Uy ex­pressed her ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the ef­forts made by the South Korean gov­ern­ment and the Philip­pines’ cus­toms bureau who worked on the de­tails of the re­turn of the ship­ment.

The South Korean gov­ern­ment shoul­dered the cost of ship­ping back the garbage amount­ing to $47,430.

Uy ex­plained that Verde Soko will still have to an­swer to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies for the cus­toms and en­vi­ron­men­tal vi­o­la­tions it com­mit­ted.

“Verde Soko will have to an­swer for all the en­vi­ron­men­tal and busi­ness op­er­a­tion vi­o­la­tions rel­a­tive to this garbage im­por­ta­tion,”Uy said.

She said the gov­ern­ment agen­cies in­ves­ti­gat­ing this mat­ter also have to for­mally re­port to Congress on the ac­tions taken to ad­dress the mat­ter and to make it sure it does not hap­pen again.

Uy said Verde Soko, Phividec of­fi­cials, cus­toms of­fi­cials, and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit of­fi­cials are not yet “off the hook”, as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will con­tinue.

Uy filed House Res­o­lu­tion 2317 ask­ing the House Com­mit­tee on Ecol­ogy to con­duct an in­quiry in aid of leg­is­la­tion on the il­le­gal en­try and dump­ing of haz­ardous plas­tic garbage from South Ko­rea in the Phividec In­dus­trial Es­tate in Tagoloan town.

Her move was backed by other law­mak­ers from Min­danao.

Uy also said, “there is still the un­re­solved case of the garbage ship­ment from Canada.”

“The lessons learned from this Verde Soko case should be ap­plied to the Canada garbage case wher­ever rel­e­vant. There is also the need to have the De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs fol­low-up with Canada on the le­gal and leg­isla­tive ac­tions they should have taken by now,”she added.

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