BOC creates unit to handle entry of hazardous wastes
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has established a permanent and specialized division which is tasked to monitor and control the entry of hazardous substances and other wastes into the country.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has issued Customs Memorandum Order 38-2019, which institutionalizes the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD) to address the unlawful entry of wastes from other countries.

This came after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez ordered the BOC to establish a strike team, which will guard the country against the entry of waste materials.

“There shall be created a permanent Environmental Protection and Compliance Division under the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), Enforcement Group (EG). The EPCD shall be headed by a senior officer from the ESS and composed of other ESS personnel who will be selected by the ESS director, subject to the approval of the deputy commissioner of EG,” the memorandum read.

According to the BOC, the order institutionalizes the Environmental Protection Unit of the bureau, which was established in 1996 with limited duties and functions.

Under the CMO, the EPCD shall monitor the processing of shipments of hazardous substances, waste products, nuclear wastes, recyclable products, and all other chemicals, products or substances under the regulatory control of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

It shall recommend the issuance of alert orders and pre-lodgment control orders against shipments suspected of containing goods in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and environmental laws.

The division is also directed to investigate cases and to make recommendation for prosecution of violations of the CMTA, in relation to environmental and other applicable laws, rules and regulations.

Regulatory agencies, including the BOC, are mandated to assist the DENR in monitoring and preventing the entry of hazardous and nuclear wastes into the country, in compliance with Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1999.

Last May 31, Canada reexported 69 containers of trash which were dumped in the Philippines six years ago.

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