MANILA

Palace on Canada trash: Talks 'unwelcome, unnecessary'

MALACAÑANG on Thursday, April 25, was displeased by Canada's "quick but vague" response to President Rodrigo Duterte's call to ship back its trash dumped in the Philippines.

Lamenting that Canada did not even express regrets, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said any negotiation on the garbage issue was already "unwelcome and unnecessary."

"Our stand against its making our country a garbage bin of their waste is non-negotiable. It can not dilly dally on its getting them back. It must retrieve them pronto or we throw them back to its shores," he said.

"Its offensive act can not be countenanced and any further discussion on the matter is unwelcome and unnecessary. Not only has it not taken any decisive action on this arrant hostile demeanour, it has not likewise expressed regrets thereto," he added.

Panelo said Canada's reaction was "not appropriate to the strong statement we made against its throwing its garbage to our land."

The Palace official then warned that the Philippines's diplomatic and bilateral relations with Canada may be strained, if the latter fails to take appropriate actions to take back its waste.

"The 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries will be put to naught if Canada will not act with dispatch and finality the resolution of this undiplomatic episode to which we take outrage," Panelo said.

"That it even considered performing such outlandish disposal of its garbage to an ally is dangerously disruptive of our bilateral relations," he added.

On Tuesday, April 22, Duterte threatened to go to war against Canada, if it does not take its tons of garbage out of the Philippines in one week.

The firebrand President also stressed that he would sail to Canada to personally dump its waste that was illegally shipped to the Philippines six years ago.

A total of 103 container vans or 2,450 tons of trash were shipped by a Canadian firm to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The garbage from Canadian-based firm Chronic Plastics Incorporated was initially labeled as "recyclable plastic materials," but the Philippine government had discovered that it contained mixed waste such as adult diapers, non-recyclable plastics, and other household trash.

In a press conference in Pasay City in November 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained that Canada's "legal barriers and restrictions" are preventing the repatriation of tons of garbage.

Trudeau, nevertheless, assured that his country was doing its best to address the long-standing problem of illegal dumping of Canadian waste to the Philippine soil.

Following Duterte's stern warning, the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines guaranteed Wednesday April 24, that Canada is "strongly committed" to shipping back the trash.

It added that it is currently working with the Philippines to get rid of the Canadian waste. (SunStar Philippines)


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