THE Duterte administration will bear the cost of sending back heaps of garbage illegally dumped by a Canadian private firm to the Philippines, Malacañang announced Wednesday, May 22.
"Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue (of illegal trash shipment) nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a press conference.
"The government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses (of bringing back the waste to Canada) and we do not mind the same," he added.
The decision was reached after the President got "upset" by Canada's "inordinate" delay of taking back the waste to Ottawa, Panelo said.
Panelo said Duterte has already tasked the appropriate government agency to look for a private shipping firm that will send the trash back to Canada.
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is so upset about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage. We are extremely disappointed with Canada's neither-here-nor-there pronouncements on the matter," the Palace official said.
"As a result of this offending delay, the President has instructed the appropriate office to look for a private shipping company which will bring back Canada's trash to the latter's jurisdiction," he added.
To date, Canada has failed to meet the Duterte government's May 15 deadline to take back the tons of trash illegally dumped in the Philippines by Ottawa-based Chronic Plastics Incorporated.
Some 103 container vans containing more than 2,000 tons of garbage from Chronic Plastics Incorporated arrived in the Philippines in batches from 2013 and 2014.
The tons of waste were declared as recyclable scrap, but the Environment department had found that the containers were full of adult diapers, household garbage, non-recyclable plastics, and other household trash.
Panelo said the Duterte administration will take the Canadian trash out of the Philippines "immediately."
"If Canada will not accept the trash, we will leave the same within the territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country's shores," he said.
"The President's stance is principled as it is uncompromising. The Philippines is an independent sovereign nation (and) must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations. We hope this message resonates well with other countries of the world," he added.
On May 16, Malacañang warned that the Philippine government is ready to sever diplomatic ties with Canada if it continues to ignore Duterte's order to Ottawa to retrieve its garbage.
Asked if the Philippines will cut ties with Canada following the latest development, Panelo said: "Depende siguro. Hindi natin alam. Sa ngayon, 'yun muna (It depends. We don't know. As of now, that's the latest directive). I think he (Duterte) is going to that direction if you read his pronouncements." (SunStar Philippines)