Duterte said Canada should prepare a grand reception for its waste, which arrived in the Philippines in 2013.
Edd Gumban
Duterte orders return of garbage to Canada
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday ordered the Customs bureau to return to Canada the trash it sent to the Philippines a few years ago as he chided the North American country for supposedly turning Manila into its dump.

Duterte said Canada should prepare a grand reception for its waste, which arrived in the Philippines in 2013.  

“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail, there in Canada, I will dump their trash there,” the President said during a meeting on the effects of Monday’s earthquake in Pampanga. 

“I will really return (the garbage)... Load the containers to a ship and I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,” he added.

Duterte said he could not understand why Canada is turning the Philippines into a dumpsite. 

“They have been sending their trash to us. Well, not this time. We will quarrel with each other. So what if we quarrel with Canada? We’ll declare war against them, we can beat them,” he said.

“Buang ito kinakaya-kaya tayo. Hindi ako papayag ng ganoon (Crazies. They are pushing us around. I won’t let that happen),” Duterte said.

Valenzuela-based company Chronic Plastics Inc. imported more than 50 containers with waste from Canada in 2013. More than half or 29 of the containers with trash were dumped in a landfill in Tarlac.

Environment groups have expressed concern that the shipment might contain toxic materials that could harm the health of local residents.

During his visit to the Philippines in 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a process was being developed to solve the problem but did not provide specifics. 

“I have obviously been made aware of the situation and I’ve also been told that there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed,” Trudeau said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit hosted by the Philippines four years ago. 

“But, at the same time, I know that this has exposed a problem that needs fixing within our own legislation that we’re going to lean into and make sure happens,” he added.

Earlier this month, environment groups urged Canada to take back the garbage sent to the Philippines in 2013, noting that the sending of the waste was a violation of the Basel Convention.

Duterte claimed Canada sent the trash to the Philippines after agreeing to extend educational grants. 

“We will bring it back to them... Prepare... and celebrate because your garbage is coming home. Other wastes, which can be loaded in five trucks, dump them in the Canadian embassy,” Duterte said.  

He also vowed to fire customs officials if they allow garbage to enter the country. 

“The next time they do it I will sack all of them,” the President said.

Canada said yesterday it is working with the Philippine government for a timely removal of the garbage.

“Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Philippine government to resolve the waste issue and it is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the garbage back to Canada,” the Canadian embassy said. – With Pia Lee-Brago

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