DENR, Customs execs face raps over Canada garbage mess

Eight government personnel have been charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their part in the importation of waste materials from Canada which arrived in the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.

Named as respondents in the charges for violation of Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990) and RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) were Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary, lawyer Juan Miguel T. Cuna; Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) personnel Irvin Cadavona, Geri Geronimo Sanez, and Renato Cruz; and Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel Benjamin Perez, Jr., Eufracio Ednaco, Matilda Bacongan, and Jose Saromo.

After a nine-month investigation, the NBI found the eight responsible for issuing import clearances to Chronic Plastics Inc. which imported scrap plastic materials despite failing to complete requirements in its application for clearance to show that the company is capable of recycling the materials to be imported.

NBI investigators said Customs examiners and appraisers assigned at the Formal Entry Division of the Manila International Container Port erred for having re-routed the goods declaration to allow it to proceed to the next process despite its clear violation of DENR requirements.

NBI Environmental Crime Division chief Eric Nuqui said private individuals, particularly the importer and consignee, were earlier charged by the NBI.

The NBI noted that the import clearances for recyclable materials from the EMB must be issued 30 days before the importation.

"In this case, the importation clearance was issued after the arrival of the shipment," Nuqui said.

Upon inspection and finding the importation to be unsegregated, the NBI said the officials should not have allowed the issuance of another import clearance instead of merely imposing a fine of PHP50,000 for a notice of violation.

The garbage shipment from Canada was shipped back in May last year upon orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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