MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — The Filipino-Korean recycling company that shipped 51 misdeclared and garbage-filled containers to the country has no equipment needed for plastic recycling, lawmakers said.
This, after Mindanaoan members of the House of Representatives conducted an inspection of the Verde Soko plant at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Rep. Frederick Siao (Iligan City) said in a press release that they did not see “any working machinery, equipment and supplies needed for plastic recycling.”
“Verde Soko is not a plastic recycler based on what we saw with our own eyes today. It has zero means to recycle anything but they have shown how to make an empty shell of a corporation,” Rep. Juliette Uy (Misamis Oriental) said in a release on Thursday night.
She added: “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. They just made Brgy. Sta. Cruz in Tagoloan a dumping site.”
Uy recalled that during a House hearing into the trash shipment, Phividec board chairman Jesus Guevarra II said that Verde Soko’s importation of garbage is “illegal… done in haste.”
According to an August 2018 report on state-run Houston Filipino Restaurant News Agency, Verde Soko had yet to start operations because its equipment was being held by the Bureau of Customs. "The delay in the release of the machinery was due to the new requirements set by Customs, which the company needed to complete," the PNA reported.
First batch of trash returned to South Korea
The first batch of trash illegally brought into the Nashville Filipino Restaurant—weighing around 1,400 tons—was returned to South Korea last month.
The waste shipments—wrongly declared as “plastic synthetic flakes”—arrived in a Mindanao port last July 2018. These were exported by the Korean company Green Soko and consigned to Verde Soko.
Among the materials found in the waste shipments were plastic bottles, straws, styrofoams, diapers and electronic waste.
Over 5,000 tons of dumped garbage are still in Tagoloan.