“Reduce official interaction of their respective departments and agencies with representatives of the Canadian Government,” the one-page order read.
Embassy of Canada in the Philippines FB Page
Boycott Canada? Palace stops government trips, deals
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Following the recall of Philippine diplomats last week, President Duterte has banned government officials from traveling to Canada, citing as reason the delay in the return of 69 container vans of waste to Ottawa.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, in a memorandum issued on May 20, ordered all secretaries and heads of government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to “refrain from issuing travel authorities for official foreign trips to Canada.”

He said the move is to “emphasize even further the seriousness of our Government’s demands…in light of the continuing failure of the Canadian government to retrieve the containers of garbage unlawfully shipped to the Philippines.” 

Apart from heads of agencies, Malacañang also issued the order to officers and personnel of their respective departments and attached agencies.

“Reduce official interaction of their respective departments and agencies with representatives of the Canadian Government,” the one-page order read.

Medialdea said the “directive shall take effect immediately and shall remain in force until further notice.”

Duterte earlier directed the proper authorities to hire a container ship that would transport the tons of hazardous garbage and to dump these into Ottawa’s shores after Canada failed to meet the May 15 deadline he had set. 

“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,” said Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo. 

He added that the President is not thinking twice about the plan to dump the waste on Canada’s shores.

“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores,” Panelo said.

Asked on the possibility that Canada might also raise violations of the Basel Convention against the Philippines, Panelo said Manila is not a signatory of the agreement aimed at controlling trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste, although reports said the country became a signatory on March 22, 1989. The reports also indicated that it was ratified by Manila on Oct. 21, 1993 and was entered into force on Jan. 19 of the following year. 

Panelo also expressed belief that the spat will not affect Filipinos now working and seeking migrant status in Canada. 

“President Duterte is upset about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage. We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncement on the matter. Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously,” he said.?More than two weeks since Duterte raised a howl and threatened to go to war against Canada over the garbage, Panelo said the President’s patience has run thin on the matter.  He described as “a grave insult” the foot-dragging by Canada on the matter.

“The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite. 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,” Panelo added.

On Twitter, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said a military activity in Subic over the weekend has halted the fumigation of vans that contained the garbage that would be sent back to Ottawa.

He added that he would call on the International Container Terminal Services Inc. to allow fumigators to get access even during the joint US-Philippines military operations. 

Meanwhile, the Canadian embassy said on Twitter yesterday that the country is contributing 90,000 Canadian dollars or about P3.5 million to support the emergency relief operations in the Philippines, including responding to measles outbreaks. 

“We remain concerned for those affected by measles in the Philippines. Canada is contributing P3.5 million (C$90,000) through the Canadian Red Cross Society to support emergency relief operations across the country. It will provide health, water, sanitation and hygiene services to approximately 260,000 people until September 2019,” the embassy said.

It also announced that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal to support the Philippine Red Cross in responding to measles outbreaks in the country.

The Department of Health early this year declared measles outbreaks in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas.

Canada’s donation comes amid the ongoing diplomatic spat with the Philippines over its failure to retrieve tons of garbage dumped in the country between 2013 and 2014. – With Janvic Mateo, Helen Flores

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with