DENR, BOC probe garbage shipment from South Korea

admin   •   November 16, 2018   •   3780

Tons of waste shipload from South Korea | Photo courtesy to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda

MANILA, Philippines — Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) assured that they are now working to immediately resolve the issue on the waste shipment from Korea that was dumped in an area in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

BOC Spokesperson Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria said they are investigating responsible parties including the consignee of the said shipment.

“You have to look the entire transaction, of course, no and get the real facts so that we can hold the people responsible liable,” said Austria.

Containers with about 1,500 tons of garbage arrived last July 21 at the Mindanao Container Terminal aboard the vessel MV Affluent Ocean.

The shipload declared as ‘plastic synthetic flakes’, was said to be consigned to South Korean company Verde Soko II Industrial Corporation.

Initial findings showed that the shipment contained used batteries, dextrose tubes, and diapers.

“I think in-accurate naman po na maluwag ang Customs kaya po tayo nalulusutan ng basura. Sana naman huwag natin pabayaan yung situation na nagiging isang malaking tambakan ng basura ng ibang bansa ang bayan natin. Kaya po ito actually hinuli ng Bureau of Customs no dahil bawal ito obviously na hindi ito dapat ginagawa,” said Austria.

The BOC says the importer and other parties involved in the issue will likely face multiple charges for misdeclaration of goods and for violating environmental laws and the Customs Modernization And Tariff Act.

“I hope that in the future our stakeholders will not be complicit to committing something like this and if our own personnel are also involved in it in any way like by willful misconduct or negligence on their part to properly scrutinize these transactions. They will be held responsible and they will be held liable for this both the erring stakeholders and as well as the erring Bureau of Customs personnel,” said Custom spokesperson.

The EcoWaste Coalition has expressed dismay over the matter which comes amid the still unresolved issue of wastes from Canada that has been languishing in the country.

“Hindi pa kasi natatapos at nareresolba yung nangyari na pagtatambak dito ng Canada ng garbage. E eto na naman at mayroon na namang kasunod na mga basura mula sa mayayamang bansa na mapupunta at tinatapon dito sa atin. Hindi kami natutuwa rito lalo na at hazardous waste,” said EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero.

The DENR is now looking for ways to return the shipload of waste to South Korea. — Cathy Maglalang| UNTV News & Rescue

Korean Air introduces social distancing measures for passengers

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

South Korea’s largest airline Korean Air has enacted social distancing measures to protect travelers to allow for a return to the skies during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Starting from Monday (May 18), the airline has made it necessary for all passengers and staff on board to wear face masks, but other social distancing measures such as leaving empty seats between passengers began on March 9.

On Tuesday (May 19) hundreds of domestic travelers were seen in Seoul’s Gimpo Airport wearing face masks and scanning their own boarding passes during boarding.

South Korea’s aviation regulator is also requiring travelers’ temperatures be checked in airports. Airport authorities are also asking travelers to stand at least 1 meter (3 ft) apart and regularly apply hand sanitizer. (Reuters)

(Production: Dogyun Kim, Minwoo Park, Heejung Jung)

South Korea scrambles to contain new coronavirus outbreak threatening Seoul

UNTV News   •   May 11, 2020

South Korean officials scrambled on Monday (May 11) to contain a new coronavirus outbreak that is threatening to spread throughout the densely populated capital city of Seoul, leading the country to reconsider plans to reopen schools.

Officials reported 35 new infections across the country as of midnight on Sunday (May 10), the second consecutive day of new cases of that magnitude and the highest numbers in more than a month, reinforcing fears the country could be entering a second wave outbreak.

Most of the new cases were linked to an outbreak at several Seoul nightclubs and bars. Authorities had tested 4,000 people who had patronised the night spots, but were still trying to track down around 3,000 more.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pleaded with clubgoers to be tested, warning that people caught evading testing could be fined.

“If Seoul was infiltrated, the Republic of Korea will be infiltrated,” he said, noting the city currently has fewer than 700 of the nation’s 10,909 cases, which include 256 deaths.

The spike in cases comes just as the South Korean government was easing some social distancing restrictions and moving to fully reopen schools and businesses, in a transition from intensive social distancing to “distancing in daily life.” (Reuters)

(Production: Minwoo Park, Hyunyoung Yi)

South Korean president warns of epidemic second wave

UNTV News   •   May 10, 2020

South Korean President Moon Jae-In

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday (May 10) warned of a second wave of the epidemic later this year, saying the recent cluster underscored the risks that the virus which causes COVID-19 can spread widely again at any time.

“It’s not over until it’s over. While keeping enhanced alertness till the end, we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention,” he said in a televised speech marking the third anniversary of his inauguration.

South Korea reported 34 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily number in a month, after a small outbreak emerged around a slew of nightclubs that a confirmed patient had visited.

Of the new cases, 26 were domestically transmitted infections and eight were imported cases, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

As part of a long-term battle on COVID-19, the KCDC will be given greater power and will be renamed the Disease Control and Prevention Administration, Moon said. Local governments will set up their own epidemic response systems with more experts.

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

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