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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be closely coordinating with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Justice for the filing of appropriate criminal charges against the exporter and consignee of the illegal waste shipments from the United States that was recently intercepted at the Subic Bay Freeport.

The shipments—consisting of 30 container vans—arrived in Subic mid-October under the name VIPA Incorporated and was consigned to Bataan 2020 Inc., with business address in Baesa, Quezon City. The manifesto declared that the cargo was “American old corrugated cartons for repulping.”

But an examination of the initial five containers by the BOC and the DENR revealed “prohibited materials which were illegally imported.”

On October 22, DENR officials, Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda and Undersecretary for Special Concerns Edilberto Leonardo went to Subic to inspect the shipment.

According to Antiporda, the waste materials found in the container vans were a mix of plastic, paper and some face masks which are in violation of DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-22 or the Revised Procedures and Standards for the Management of Hazardous Wastes.

“Because of our experiences in these illegal shipments, such as those from Canada and South Korea, it is now much easier for the government to monitor and control banned activities,” Antiporda said, adding that should the concerned companies be found liable, it will be their responsibility to return the wastes to their source at their own expense.

The shipment is also in violation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and import of mixed and municipal waste.

Adopted in 1989, the convention is aimed at protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.

The BOC is set to open all 30 container vans to determine the specific cases to be filed against the exporter and the consignee. #