Iligan City Rep. Frederick W. Siao praised the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the government of South Korea for their swift action on returning 51 containers loaded with Korean garbage.
“I especially note the assurances of the South Korean authorities on the investigation and prosecution of persons and companies in their country responsible for sending the garbage, which includes hazardous waste, to the Port of Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental,” Siao said.
“Continuing monitoring is underway in cleaning up the mess and stench of the garbage now at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate. Congresswoman Juliette Uy of the 2nd district of Misamis Oriental and local government officials are keeping close watch over the clean-up operations,” he said.
The Mindanao congressman also lauded the DFA for the effective diplomatic legwork vis-a-vis South Korea.
“DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., our embassy in Seoul, and the DFA Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs all deserve the gratitude of my constituents in Iligan City and the constituents of the representatives from Misamis Oriental and the rest of Northern Mindanao,” Siao said.
Siao also commended personnel and officials of the Bureau of Customs for their diligent, conscientious, and meritorious handling of the issue namely Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero; Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service agents Joel Pinawin, Oliver Valiente, and Abdul Sultan; and Mindanao International Container Terminal Port Collector John M. Simon.
Meanwhile, Siao said he will continue to follow-up with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on their rules on the operations of waste recycling companies like Verde Soko Philippines.
“Clearly, Verde Soko slipped through the cracks and gaps in the DENR rules and inspection system. Company location in an industrial estate or special economic zone does not mean leniency or exemption of waste recycling firms from DENR inspection and monitoring,” he said.
On 12 November 2018, Siao delivered a privilege speech at the House of Representatives entitled “Return to Sender” rejecting the 51 containers of garbage from South Korea and demanding that the consignee, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, and its shipper based in South Korea pay for any and all expenses related to the return of the garbage to South Korea.