Government tells officials: Don’t travel to Canada
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has directed government officials to refrain from traveling to Canada, in a further reduction of diplomatic relations with Ottawa over the Canadian government’s failure to take back tons of garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago.
The Philippines earlier ordered home its ambassador and consuls in Canada after Ottawa missed a May 15 deadline set by Manila for the return of the trash.
On Sunday, the Palace confirmed the issuance of a memorandum directing all officials not to travel to Canada and to limit interactions with the Canadian government.
“We maintain that these directives are consistent with our stance on the diminished diplomatic relations with Canada,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued the memorandum on May 20 and that it covered all department chiefs, heads of agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations and state financial institutions.
Panelo said Medialdea issued the directive to “emphasize even further the seriousness of our government’s demands.”
The Canadian government has said arrangements are being made to take back the garbage, but it has not indicated when that might happen.
Last week, President Duterte ordered authorities to hire a private shipping company to transport the trash to Canada.
Panelo said the garbage would be left within Canadian territory if Ottawa refused to accept it.
At least 103 containers of household trash — including plastic bottles, bags, newspapers and diapers — were shipped to the Philippines by the Canadian company Chronic Inc. through Chronic Philippines Inc. in 2013 and 2014.
Two containers have gone missing and the contents of 34 have been disposed of on a landfill in Capas, Tarlac province.
The remaining 37 containers are held at Manila International Container Terminal and at Subic Freeport.
The government has brought charges against the consignee and the customs officials who cleared the trash.—Julie M. Aurelio
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