Philippines: New Department to Act Against Illegal Chemical Imports

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) wants to limit the import of hazardous chemicals and to that end has issued Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 38-2019 that took effect on August 9. The CMO envisages a new department, the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD). In the future, its staff is to monitor the transport of chemicals and, as a first step, develop guidelines. With the new department, officials want to prevent the illegal import of hazardous chemicals and monitor the import of hazardous waste (including nuclear waste) and other chemicals more closely.

The procedure should be as follows: EPCD employees perform investigations. If they suspect that a shipment contains goods that do not comply with the environmental laws and the requirements of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), the BOC becomes involved and inspects the shipment more closely. If the second inspection confirms the suspicion, the BOC will issue a warrant and confiscate the goods.

The Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act (RA6969) has been in effect in the Philippines since 1990. The law regulates the import, manufacture, processing, handling, storage, transport, sales, marketing, use, and disposal of all non-regulated chemical substances and mixtures.

When manufacturers or importers want to bring into the country a substance that is not listed on the Philippine Inventory of Chemicals and Chemical Substances (PICCS), they must register the substances with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In this context, we would like to refer to the lecture given by our colleague Dr. Tobias Eger at the seminar „International Chemicals Law on September 26–27, 2019“ in Frankfurt. KFT’s expert on East Asia will discuss the newest developments in chemicals law in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Philippines.

If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact us at

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