Philippines to Canada: End of June not good enough

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The Philippine Government rejected an announcement made by Government of Canada , stating that they’ve already hired a company to ship containers of trash from the Philippines. The Philippines’ response? End of June not good enough.

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said that the containers of trash will be removed “by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements.”

The announcement was not satisfactory to the Philippine Government, to say the least.

Salvador Panelo, spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said that they are already working at returning the containers of trash themselves.

When asked when the containers of trash will be returned to Canada, Panelo said that they would do so at the earliest possible opportunity.

“It could be this week or the week after. Definitely not the end of June,” he said. “We will not allow ourselves to be dumping ground of trash.”




HOW DID THOSE CONTAINERS END UP IN THE PHILIPPINES IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Containers of trash started arriving in Philippine ports in 2013, sent by Chronic Inc., a private company based out of Whitby, Ontario.

Jim Makris, owner of Chronic Inc, denied sending trash to the Philippines during an interview with the Toronto Star in 2014.

Makris claimed that he purchased the containers from a recycling company in Vancouver, which was supposed to contain 95% plastic.

The plastic was supposed to be sent to the Philippines for further recycling to a company that Makris set up with Philippine partners.

Most likely, Makris bought the containers from the Vancouver company sight unseen, had it shipped to the Philippines directly from Vancouver.

The Port of Vancouver (where the containers originated from) isn’t exactly next door to where Chronic Inc was located in Whitby.

In fact, it’s over 4,250 kms away.

Still, Makris is vehement in his denial that he had anything to do with the trash.

“Anybody who’s in plastic, who knows plastic, will tell you. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard of in my entire life,” Makris told the Toronto Star.

Makris set up the Philippine company to receive the containers. What most likely happened was that Makris’ Filipino partners discovered that the Vancouver-based recycling company had cheated them by sending trash instead of the recyclable plastics, they decided against claiming the shipment.

When the containers went unclaimed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) inspected the containers, and found that its contents were misdeclared as recyclable plastic.

The Government of the Philippines has been pushing the return of the containers of trash through diplomatic channels ever since.




STRAINED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Canada has been strained for the past few years.

It all started when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had voiced concerns over alleged human-rights abuses by the Philippine Government during a visit in Manila. Duterte didn’t like that one bit, calling Trudeau’s statements “a personal and official insult.”

Then things got really heated when the Philippine Air Force wanted to buy helicopters from Canada.

Canadian politicians expressed concern regarding alleged human rights violations after a Filipino general said that the helicopters would be used for the Philippine military’s internal security operations.

The Government of Canada’s International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland both came out with statements, saying that they were prepared to block the export of the helicopters if necessary.

Duterte did not take kindly to what was seen as a critique about Philippine internal affairs. He promptly cancelled a contract to purchase 16 helicopters from Canadian company Bell Aliant, a deal worth US$233 million.

The deal was brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a company owned by the federal Government of Canada, which is why both Champagne and Freeland had said something in the first place.

Then that guy from Whitby decided that it was a good idea to go and send some containers to the Philippines.




SO, WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?

Duterte gave the Government of Canada until May 15 to take the containers of trash back. Canada missed that deadline, so the Philippine president expressed his displeasure by ordering the recall of his top diplomats.

The Government of Canada has been caught off guard with the Philippine Government’s increasingly adversarial stance.

McKenna made a statement announcing that a Canadian company has been hired to bring the trash back at a cost of CAD$1.1 million dollars. McKenna said that the trash will arrive in Vancouver by the end of June.

Apparently, this wasn’t fast enough. Salvador Panelo, spokesperson for Duterte, said that the President has ordered the shipment of the containers immediately. He said that the Philippine Government will shoulder the cost.




HOW DID THOSE CONTAINERS END UP IN THE PHILIPPINES IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Containers of trash started arriving in Philippine ports in 2013, sent by Chronic Inc., a private company based out of Whitby, Ontario.

Jim Makris, owner of Chronic Inc, denied sending trash to the Philippines during an interview with the Toronto Star in 2014.

Makris claimed that he purchased the containers from a recycling company in Vancouver, which was supposed to contain 95% plastic.

The plastic was supposed to be sent to the Philippines for further recycling to a company that Makris set up with Philippine partners.

Most likely, Makris bought the containers from the Vancouver company sight unseen, had it shipped to the Philippines directly from Vancouver.

The Port of Vancouver (where the containers originated from) isn’t exactly next door to where Chronic Inc was located in Whitby.

In fact, it’s over 4,250 kms away.

Still, Makris is vehement in his denial that he had anything to do with the trash.

“Anybody who’s in plastic, who knows plastic, will tell you. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard of in my entire life,” Makris told the Toronto Star.

Makris set up the Philippine company to receive the containers. What most likely happened was that Makris’ Filipino partners discovered that the Vancouver-based recycling company had cheated them by sending trash instead of the recyclable plastics, they decided against claiming the shipment.

When the containers went unclaimed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) inspected the containers, and found that its contents were misdeclared as recyclable plastic.

The Government of the Philippines has been pushing the return of the containers of trash through diplomatic channels ever since.




STRAINED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Canada has been strained for the past few years.

It all started when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had voiced concerns over alleged human-rights abuses by the Philippine Government during a visit in Manila. Duterte didn’t like that one bit, calling Trudeau’s statements “a personal and official insult.”

Then things got really heated when the Philippine Air Force wanted to buy helicopters from Canada.

Canadian politicians expressed concern regarding alleged human rights violations after a Filipino general said that the helicopters would be used for the Philippine military’s internal security operations.

The Government of Canada’s International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland both came out with statements, saying that they were prepared to block the export of the helicopters if necessary.

Duterte did not take kindly to what was seen as a critique about Philippine internal affairs. He promptly cancelled a contract to purchase 16 helicopters from Canadian company Bell Aliant, a deal worth US$233 million.

The deal was brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a company owned by the federal Government of Canada, which is why both Champagne and Freeland had said something in the first place.

Then that guy from Whitby decided that it was a good idea to go and send some containers to the Philippines.




SO, WHATS HAPPENING NOW?

Duterte gave the Government of Canada until May 15 to take the containers of trash back. Canada missed that deadline, so the Philippine president expressed his displeasure by ordering the recall of his top diplomats.

The Government of Canada has been caught off guard with the Philippine Government’s increasingly adversarial stance.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna made a statement announcing that a Canadian company has been hired to bring the trash back at a cost of CAD$1.1 million dollars. McKenna said that the trash will arrive in Vancouver by the end of June.

Apparently, this wasn’t fast enough. Salvador Panelo, spokesperson for Duterte, said that the President has ordered the shipment of the containers immediately. He said that the Philippine Government will shoulder the cost.





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