By Ellson Quismorio
Verde Soko Philippines, the consignee of the 6,000 metric tons of garbage that was sent to the country from South Korea last year, turned out to be a “fake” recycling plant.
This was the observation made by Mindanao congressmen as they inspected the facilities of the supposed plastic recycling company at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental.
“Aside from the over 5,000 metric tons of garbage at Verde Soko’s Phividec lot, we saw rusting conveyor belt that no longer works. There was also no electricity supply in the plant,” said Misamis Oriental 2nd district Rep. Juliette Uy, who initiated a House investigation on the garbage mess via her House Resolution (HR) No.2317.
“Ginawa lang talagang tambakan ng basura itong Barangay Sta. Cruz sa Tagolaon (Barangay Sta. Cruz in Tagolaon is simply being turned into a dumping site),” she noted.
It was July 2018 when the garbage, which was believed to include hazardous waste, arrived in the country aboard the vessel MV Affluent Ocean. It was offloaded at the Mindanao International Container Terminal and left at Verde Soko.
Only 1,000 tons of the cargo were shipped back to its country of origin, South Korea, last January.
“We did not see any working machinery, equipment, and supplies needed for plastic recycling,” Iligan lone district Rep. Frederick Siao said.
Uy said that, based on the information gathered during the inspection, as well as the House probe, Verde Soko can’t be considered a plastic recycler. “It has zero means to recycle anything, but they have shown how to make an empty shell of a corporation.”
Uy recalled that during the House hearings, Phividec board Chairman Jesus Guevarra II said Verde Soko’s importation of the garbage was “illegal…done in haste.”
Guevara also said the Phividec locator company “should have imported machineries first.”
“Our role in Congress is to make sure the laws enacted work and are implemented well by national agencies and local governments. That is our oversight role,” Uy noted.
Also present in the ocular inspection were Reps. Henry Oaminal (Misamis Occidental 2nd District), Lawrence Fortun (Agusan Del Norte 1st District), Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba (Bukidnon 1st District), and Rogelio Neil Roque (Bukidnon, 4th District).
Participating in the House hearings were the Committees on Ecology, Local Government, and Good Governance and Public Accountability.