Exporters seek refund after DENR relaxes wastewater standards

ELECTRONICS EXPORTERS fined for noncompliance with wastewater standards are now asking the government for reimbursements after the rules were relaxed.

Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) President Danilo C. Lachica in a Viber message on Wednesday said the copper standard on industry wastewater was reverted to one PPM or parts per million of total copper starting in the third quarter.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) general effluent standards, or standards related to liquid waste discharged into rivers or seas, sets parameters for the concentrations of copper released into water.   

The standards were issued to preserve the country’s fresh, brackish, and marine waters by preventing water pollution.

The electronics exporters industry group had been appealing to the government for a review of these revised wastewater guidelines that tightened the copper standard to 0.04 PPM of dissolved copper. SEIPI earlier said the standard was comparable with Thailand’s drinking water, not treated industrial wastewater.

Mr. Lachica told the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday the Trade department, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) had helped the industry group with its appeal.

“The only concern that we have right now would be for those who were given fines and penalties for not complying with the revised standard, we’re appealing to the DENR to reverse that,” he said.

“Initially, the response was they can’t because it’s already been collected but we encourage them (to reimburse).”

SEIPI is retaining its 7% growth target for the year, which is backed by a rebound in demand in the industrial, mobility, consumer, and medical electronics sectors.

Mr. Lachica in a general membership meeting last month cited a mismatch between industry skill demand and employee training to keep up with global technology shifts, noting that electrical and computer engineering graduates have been declining. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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