MANILA - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a new unit to monitor the entry of hazardous waste in the country, the agency said in a statement Saturday.
Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 38-2019, the newly-formed Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD) "shall monitor the processing of shipments of hazardous substances, waste products, nuclear wastes, recyclable products or substances under the regulatory control of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)," the order read.
The division would also be "tasked to investigate cases and to make recommendations for prosecution of violations of Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), in relation to environmental and other applicable laws, rules and regulations," the memo read.
Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990 defines hazardous waste as "substances that are without any safe commercial, industrial, agricultural or economic usage and are shipped, transported
or brought from the country of origin for dumping or disposal into or in transit through any part of the territory of the Philippines."
These include "by-products, side-products, process residues,
spent reaction media, contaminated plant or equipment or other substances from manufacturing operations, and as consumer discards of manufactured products.
The law, meanwhile, defines nuclear waste as radioactive waste "incidental to the production or utilization of nuclear fuels."
Several cases of illegal shipments of garbage from other countries have been reported in Philippine ports, including those from Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.
None of the shipments, however, were known to contain hazardous waste.