Canada agrees to import back waste after Rodrigo Duterte warns of war
Last updated on May 9th, 2019
After a long series of meetings and warnings by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Canada has agreed that they will be paying for the shipping charges of sending back the waste to them. However, according to the Philippine Department of Finance “the Canadian government has slowed down the process”.
Previously between 2013 and 2014, Canada transported waste in 100 containers to the Philippines. The containers consisted of plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and used adult diapers.
A week after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened Canada of war, he warned the Canadian government of dumping the waste on its beaches if they do not take back the garbage.
The spokesperson of the President, Salvador Panelo said, “We will send them back to your shores if you don’t get that (back). And the President last night, asked to throw them on your beach. Totoo ‘yun. Galit siya (That’s true. He’s angry).”
However, he added that the comments “starting a war with Canada” and “dumping its garbage on its beaches” were just figures of speech with the prior being “an expression of outrage”.
Earlier, Rodrigo Duterte extended the timeframe to May 15, and asked the Canadian government to move the containers back to Canada from the two ports where they have been sitting for the past six years.
While the Canadian government has agreed to bear the cost of shipping the waste back to the country, the Bureau of Customs has said that it is not feasible to meet the deadline. The Bureau explained that the documents required for the shipment of the waste are under process.
In a report to the Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that the documents for import permits and the auction of sterilization services for the containers can take “a couple of weeks” to get processed.
In 2017, after a meeting with Rodrigo Duterte during the visit to the Philippines, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “We have discussed the garbage issue and I am happy to commit to you all now that Canada is very much engaged in finding a solution to that”.
While Rodrigo Duterte might be asking for the re-export of waste back to Canada due to environmental reasons or pressure from environmental activists, his harsh words might create tensions between both the countries, affecting their economic and foreign relations.
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