Angry Duterte orders trash shipped back to Canada at PH expense
MANILA, Philippines — Outraged by the delay in the return of tons of Canadian trash illegally shipped into the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has taken matters into his own hands by sending the garbage back to Canada at the Philippines’ own expense, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.
The President ordered the hiring of a private company to return the trash to Canada — and to leave the shipment within its waters should Ottawa refuse to accept it, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“If Canada will not accept [its] trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of [the] country’s shores,” Panelo said at a press briefing.
He said the President was “so upset” about Ottawa’s delayed action in taking back the trash, which was shipped to Manila in batches of containers in 2013 and 2014 under false pretenses.
The President, according to Panelo, left instructions to look for a private shipping company that would return the trash to Canada.
‘We don’t mind expenses’
“The government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses. And we do not mind,” Panelo said.
The shipments had been declared by its Philippine consignee, Chronic Plastics, as scrap materials for recycling, but turned out to be soiled adult diapers and electronic wastes.
The President earlier gave the Canadian government until May 15 to take back the trash.
When Ottawa failed to comply, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recalled the Philippine ambassador and consuls from Canada.
The Canadian government last week expressed disappointment over the move, but said it remained committed to taking back the trash.
Panelo said the President had lost his patience.
“We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither-here-nor-there pronouncement on the matter,” he said.
“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,” the official said.
Asked if the President was prepared to cut diplomatic ties with Ottawa, Panelo said: “I think it’s going in that direction.”
“The President’s stance is principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines, as an independent sovereign nation, must not be treated as trash by other nations,” he said.
He added: “We hope this message resonates well with the other countries of the world.”
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