(From GMA News. Reported by Rose-An Jessica Dioquino and Trisha Macas.)
Some 429 drums containing toxic materials, including cyanide and acid waste, were discovered near a house and a river in Amadeo town in Cavite, a TV report said Tuesday.
A Balitanghali report said the drums — which either had leaks, or were already bloated and rusty — were first discovered inside a truck parked near the house without a warning device Monday night.
The driver was not able to show a permit, saying they brought the drums from their plant in Silang town, since they no longer fit there.
“Tinanong namin anong klase ‘yung laman, coolant daw ito,” said Inspector Rommel Dimaala of the Amadeo Municipal Police Station.
He added: “Masakit sa ilong, masakit sa dibdib, so malaki ang hinala namin na hindi lang kemikal, hindi lang basta hazardous waste ang laman nito… Baka i-dump na rin diyan [sa ilog], isabay sa malakas na ulan.”
The owner of the house, identified as Rene Francisco, said he sold the property already to a company called VYA Trading.
A separate Balitanghali report said the VYA had a permit to transport the toxic materials, but only to its facility.
It added that the lot where the drums were found was going to be turned into a recovery facility.
Authorities said this was a violation, since the company should have secured a permit for that first and renovated the place to meet the needs for such function.
A water pump was also found there, further raising suspicions.
Meanwhile, officials from the municipal environmental office have collected a water sample from the nearby river to check if waste has been dumped in it. The test results will be out in two weeks.
“Pagkakuha ng isang transporter ng waste sa isang generator, dapat po dadalhin agad sa isang TSD facility—ang ‘TSD’ po ay treatment, storage and disposal facility. Hindi po ito dapat dadalhin kung saan-saan pang lugar dahil nga po ang kategorya nito ay hazardous waste,” said Edwin Concepcion, an environmental management specialist from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region IV, in a report on GMA-7’s “24 Oras.”
Initial investigation revealed that the drums were labeled as containing either used oil or water coolant.
“Mga living things doon magkakaroon ng mga damage iyon, mga isda, pati mga halaman, siyempre langis iyon e. Pati mga tao kung makakakain ng mga isda o halaman na na-damage niyan, maaaring magkaroon din ng deperensiya,” said Ernesto Cenizal Jr., OIC of the Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office
The employees involved, including the driver of the truck and five helpers as well as the respective owners of the company and the house where the drums were found, will be facing charges in violation of RA 9003, or the Environmental Waste Management Act, and RA 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.
“Mukhang magka-qualify ito as hazardous waste. Ang penalty niya is imprisonment from 12 years to 20 years,” said fiscal Edgar Ambagan, the deputy city state prosecutor of Tagaytay, Cavite.
The respondents declined to give statements. Preliminary investigation will start on Friday.