An “outraged” President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the concerned government agencies to shoulder cost of shipping tons of garbage back to Canada, the Palace said Wednesday, adding that the Chief Executive was upset at Ottawa’s inordinate delay in retrieving its waste.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Duterte administration was “extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncement on the matter,” blaming them for lacking a definite position on the garbage that was illegally shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.
“Obviously Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dump site,” Panelo 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. The government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses. And we do not mind,” he added.
Should Canada refuse to accept its tons of rotting rubbish, the Philippine government will then “leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores.”
“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 foreign nations. We hope this message resonates well with the other countries of the world,” he said.
Manila had earlier set a May 15 deadline for Ottawa to take the tons of trash back after President Duterte berated Canada over the issue last month.
Canada has since maintained it was already working to arrange for the containers’ return. They missed the deadline set by the Philippines, however.
In the wake of that failure, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recalled the Philippine ambassador and consuls in Canada, maintaining that diplomatic presence in Canada will remain diminished until the garbage is shipped back.
The South Korean government, meanwhile, has committed to help ship back to its country its waste materials weighing 5,176 metric tons illegally imported here last year and currently stored at the Phividec Industrial Authority premises in Misamis Oriental.
In his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the waste materials, consisting of plastic synthetic flakes, were unlawfully imported by the Cebu-based Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. in July and October last year.