Several days after the Philippine Government recalled its top diplomats from Canada, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte escalated his government’s dispute with the North American country by threatening to dump the remaining containers of trash on Canadian shorelines.
PHILIPPINES ESCALATES ITS ADVERSARIAL STANCE AGAINST CANADA
“The president’s stance is as principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations,” said Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s spokesperson told local media.
“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores,” Panelo continued.
Panelo was referring to 69 containers of household waste that was shipped by a Canadian businessman to the Philippines in 2013.
Panelo went on to say that Duterte was angry “about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage.”
“We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncement on the matter,” he added.
“Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite,” Panelo said.
TRASH ORIGINALLY SENT BY PRIVATE CANADIAN COMPANY
Originally, there were 103 containers, but the Philippine Government has since disposed of a few containers.
The Government of Canada has maintained that the containers were a private matter.
The issue was brought up time and again through formal diplomatic channels since the discovery of the missed larked shipments, without much success.
It wasn’t until Duterte started threatening the Government of Canada with war that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to take action.
CANADA OFFERS TO TAKE TRASH BACK
In April 2019, the Government of Canada made a formal offer to take back the remaining containers of trash.
Duterte imposed a May 15 deadline for the removal of the trash from Philippine territory, but when the Government of Canada failed to meet the deadline, Duterte ordered the recall of his top diplomats to the country.
Philippine – Canadian diplomatic relations have been strained ever since Duterte cancelled a $233 million dollar deal to buy helicopters from a Canadian company, following concerns raised by the Government of Canada regarding their potential use against communist rebels.
CANADA HIRES SHIPPING COMPANY TO TAKE BACK TRASH
The Government of Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released a statement saying that the containers will be back in Canada before the end of June.
The contract was awarded to Bolloré Logistics Canada, who will be responsible for shipping the remaining 69 containers of trash.
McKenna said that the trash will be disposed of according to Canadian environmental rules and regulations.
McKenna went on to say that “Canada values its deep and long-standing relationship with the Philippines and has been working closely with Filipino authorities to find a solution that is mutually acceptable.”
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