According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had confirmed that Canada has been working double time to ship back the garbage.
Private contractor tapped to move Canadian trash
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Canada has directed a shipping company to bring the tons of garbage it exported to the Philippines in 2013 back to Ottawa, following the Philippines’ recall of its ambassador and diplomats last week. 

According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had confirmed that Canada has been working double time to ship back the garbage. 

“The DFA issued a statement that the Canadian government has already directed a shipping company to get the trash back. And according to them, it will be sooner than later,” Panelo said at a regular press briefing yesterday. 

Following the recall of diplomats, Panelo said this should send a strong signal to Canada that President Duterte is serious in seeking the return of the waste. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also responded with the hope that the matter will soon be resolved.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday last week said trade relations between Manila and Ottawa should not be marred by political issues.

In 2018, Lopez noted that Canada was the 20th major trading partner of the Philippines (out of 221), 17th in export market (out of 211) and 20th import supplier (out of 198) of the Philippines. 

Lopez noted that total trade between the Philippines and Canada in 2018 was pegged at $1.34 billion. 

Meanwhile, the country’s top diplomat admitted that ignoring Vice President Leni Robredo was the “politest” thing he could do after the latter questioned the recall of Philippine ambassador and consuls in Canada over a missed deadline to ship back the Canadian garbage.

“The politest thing I can do is ignore her completely,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted. 

The Philippines recalled its diplomats in Canada after the Canadian government failed to send back the garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines six years ago.

Locsin said the Philippines would maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship-bound there.

“I know she doesn’t have much to do but Canada already has a resident ambassador to represent its interests. That is my last word on it,” Locsin said.

Robredo questioned the recall to compel Canada to immediately take back its garbage. She said she was concerned that Filipinos in Canada were deprived of representation there

Locsin blamed his “fellow officials” who want to maintain friendly relations with Canada at the expense of defying Duterte.

“If our officials had done something about it, Canadian garbage would have been long returned to sender,” he said without naming the officials.

He added that the President’s threat of war on Canada should be taken seriously. Last April 23, Duterte threatened to declare war over the trash shipment. – With Pia Lee-Brago

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