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Dominguez eyes Customs strike team vs garbage imports

Philstar.com
Canada trash
Tonnes of Canadian garbage left in the Philippines for years arrived back home last month, putting an end to a festering diplomatic row that highlighted how Asian nations have grown tired of being the world's trash dump.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance said Thursday it ordered the Bureau of Customs to study the possible formation of a special strike team to guard against the entry of waste materials that other countries are attempting to dump in the Philippines. 

In a statement, Finance Secretary Dominguez III said the strike team that he wants at the BOC will be “akin to a special environmental strike force team that will be activated to guard the entry of hazardous materials in the country.”

“It's time we put up something like an environmental unit in the Customs (bureau) to really act on this garbage issue,” Dominguez said.

Tonnes of Canadian garbage left in the Philippines for years arrived back home last month, putting an end to a festering diplomatic row that highlighted how Asian nations have grown tired of being the world's trash dump.

The trash will be incinerated at a waste-to-energy facility, Canadian officials said.

The conflict dates back to 2013 and 2014, when a Canadian company shipped containers mislabeled as recyclable plastics to the Philippines. 

The shipment actually contained a mixture of paper, plastics, electronics, and household waste, including kitchen trash and diapers, even though Philippine law prohibits imports of mixed plastics and household trash. 

Some of the waste was disposed in the Philippines, but much of it stewed in local ports for years.

The issue polluted bilateral relations for years, but tensions came to a head in April when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to "declare war" against Canada unless it reclaimed the garbage.

Canada missed a May 15 deadline to repatriate the rubbish, but then made arrangements soon thereafter to move it back to Canadian soil. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral with AFP

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
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