Senator Koko Pimentel III has filed a bill seeking to ban the importation of solid waste in the country.
According to Pimentel, the Philippines is “well in the path” of being known as a country in the “global waste trade” as evidenced by two incidents of trash dumping in 2017 and 2018.
“The Philippines is well in the path of being known as a country in the global waste trade.”
Senate Bill No. 2144, otherwise known as An Act Banning the Importation of Solid Waste, proposes to stop the importation of trash even by recyclers of trash located in the Special Economic Zones.
“By banning the importation of solid waste,” the legislator said, “the Philippines will stop being a dumping site of more advance countries.”
“The Philippines will stop being a dumping site of more advance countries.”
The lawmaker said China, formerly the top destination for recyclable trash, has banned the importation of solid wastes, with Thailand and Vietnam following suit.
The China ban on plastic wastes, the senator said, has left the U.S., Britain, Japan and Mexico scrambling to find alternative dumping sites for the wastes.
He said the Philippines has to set a ban against the importation of solid waste to prevent foreign waste from “arriving in our shores.”
Under the bill, any entity or person who imports any solid waste or otherwise use, treat or process the same in violation of the act, faces imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years depending upon the discretion of the court.
In case the offender is a foreigner, he or she shall be deported and barred from any subsequent entry into the Philippines. In case the offender is a corporation, association or other entities, the penalty shall be imposed upon the managing partner, president or chief executive officer, in addition to the payment of an exemplary damage of at least P500,000. If it is a foreign entity, the director and all its responsible officers shall be barred from entry to the Philippines, in addition to the cancellation of its license to do business in the Philippines.
In case the offender is a government official or employee, the penalties of automatic dismissal from office and permanent disqualification from holding any elective or appointive position shall be imposed, in addition to the penalties provided in the act.
A person or a firm responsible for or connected with the unlawful importation of solid waste shall have the obligation to transport or send back to the port of origin the prohibited wastes. In case the importer cannot be ascertained, the carrier shall be responsible for transporting the solid waste back to the port of origin or pay the exemplary damage of at least P500,000 or both.
Should the importation cause environmental pollution, the competent environmental protection agency will order the importer to eliminate the pollution.
“It is our Constitutional duty and intergenerational responsibility to protect and advance the right of the people to a balance and healthful ecology,” Pimentel said.