Pre-shipment inspection of cargo urged

Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza (LA photo)

Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza lambasted the continued non-implementation of the pre-shipment inspection provision in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act which has again allowed the entry of 51 container vans of garbage into the country.

“This latest incident where 51 container vans of garbage from South Korea were allowed to enter our ports is proof that we must immediately implement the pre-shipment inspection of all cargo and container vans at the point-of-origin. Since Republic Act. 10863 was signed into law in 2016, we have been calling on the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to implement this provision. But the BOC and the Department of Finance have been resistant to the idea. This is the only way that we can stop the uncontrolled entry of garbage and illegal drugs from all over the world. We simply cannot the continued footdragging of these two agencies!” a visibly exasperated Atienza said.

Atienza also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to order these two government agencies to immediately implement the pre-shipment inspection of all cargo and container vans at their ports of origin.

“We are banging on the doors of the BOC and the DOF. If they will not do their jobs, then maybe the President should step in and order them to do so. How hard is it to check the bill of lading of these shipments? If it says garbage and we still allow them to enter our ports, then we are stupid. Specially since this is the second incident in the last three years that our country has been turned into the dumping ground of the world’s garbage. It is ridiculous to think that nobody knew what was in those container vans. We suspect that money is probably involved, that’s why this isn’t being implemented,” Atienza said.

Atienza had earlier congratulated and expressed his support for Iligan Congressman Frederick Siao, who had delivered a privilege speech the other day condemning the entry of this garbage shipment at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental.

“Now it appears that the shipment contained used syringes. What were these syringes used for? What if they contained contagious diseases and pathogens? We fully support Congressman Siao’s demand that the consignee, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, and its shipper be made to pay for any and all expenses for the return of the garbage to South Korea. We also support the filing of criminal charges against those responsible for this,” Atienza said.

p: wjg