CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The tons of discarded plastics that came from South Korea are raw materials for a recycling facility and not mere garbage, a top official of the company that imported the materials said.
Neil Alburo, president of Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corp., a company engaged in the recycling of plastics, said the materials that they imported from South Korea are ready for processing.
“We are in an ecozone, we are embedded with the rules and regulations of the DENR. We have to follow,” said Alburo, whose company is based inside the Phividec Industrial Authority (PIA)-managed economic zone in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental province.
The soft plastics, he said, are recycled into pellets and briquettes, which will be shipped back to South Korea and China to be made into plastic furniture and other items. Soft plastics refer to plastic grocery bags and other light materials made of the same material.
Alburo clarified that they have complied with all the requirements set by the PIA before they were allowed to set up shop inside the economic zone.
In July, Alburo’s company received more than five metric tons of plastic materials from South Korea at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Last month, 51 container vans with the same content arrived from the same country.
Alburo assured that their operation will be pollution-free and will not harm the environment and the people living nearby.
Dax Jara, PIA safety specialist, said they have cleared Verde Soko to operate a recycling facility within the Phividec Industrial Estate complex in June this year.
Jara added that the PIA and Verde Soko had signed a memorandum of understanding in June allowing the processing of plastic materials inside the ecozone.
Jara noted that the company has been granted an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR).
Based on submitted documents, Jara said EMB granted Verde Soko an ECC on July 6, 2018 for the proposed plastic pellet processing, plastic briquette processing, and a 300-kilowatt thermal power supply project.
According to a 2015 report on plastic pollution by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey for Business and Environment, the Philippines ranked third as the world’s source of plastic pollution.
The company’s imported raw materials, however, are still under the custody of the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10), pending compliance of two alleged violations Verde Soko has reportedly committed.
BOC-10 collector Floro Calixihan on Wednesday said that based on their findings, the materials imported by Verde Soko were “misdeclared” as “plastic synthetic flakes” but they found out the shipment was composed of all sorts of plastic.
Calixihan added the company has yet to secure an import permit from the DENR.
He said they have already summoned the Verde Soko management for a hearing, in which the Customs will give the company the chance to respond to the alleged violations.
BOC will issue a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment of Verde Soko if the company fails to resolve compliance issues, the BOC official warned. Jigger Jerusalem/PNA-northboundasia.com