Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a bill that will ban all garbage imports from entering the Philippines, which has recently been tagged as a "dumpsite of foreign waste."
Under Senate Bill No. 18, or the "Waste Importation Ban Act of 2019," all waste imports, including recyclable materials, will be banned in the country, while violators will face hefty fines or imprisonment of up to 12 years.
"Violators may be fined with up to P15 million and/or imprisoned for 8 to 12 years," Drilon said in a press statement.
He recalled the country's importation of Canadian garbage in 2013 that was shipped in 103 containers. The trash were returned to Canada on May 31, after 6 years languishing in the Philippines.
Drilon also said that countries such as Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan have made the country "a cross-boundary disposal site" of unwanted and toxic garbage.
"These incidents indicate that we have become a dumping ground for waste generated by other nations. We must fix our laws that allowed that to happen," Drilon said.
"We must then prohibit the importation of all kinds of waste or scrap including recyclable materials. We should never allow our country to be a dumpsite."
Drilon said his bill also targets recyclable materials, because waste importers used them as an excuse to seek permission to enter the garbage in the country.
The bill also mandates all waste imports be returned immediately to its country of origin at the expense of the consignor or importer.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Customs will enforce the bill if passed.