Canada ‘disappointed’ Philippines recalling ambassador, consuls over trash

Duterte threatened last month to forcibly ship the containers of garbage back to Canada

(The Canadian Press)

Canada’s foreign ministry says it’s disappointed by the Philippines’ decision to recall top diplomats over festering trash.

The department says Canada has “repeatedly conveyed” to the Philippines government that it is committed to ship and dispose of Canadian garbage that’s been stuck in a Philippine port for nearly six years.

“Canada is disappointed by this decision to recall the Philippines ambassador and consuls general,” the department said in a statement. “However, we will continue to closely engage with the Philippines to ensure a swift resolution of this important issue.”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted late Wednesday that the Philippines “shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

Locsin said in his tweet that letters for the recall of the Philippine ambassador and consuls in Canada have been sent and that the diplomats were expected back in Manila “in about a day or so.”

“That recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage otherwise we’re gonna sever relations with them,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a regular news conference.

Ottawa and Manila have engaged in the waste war for nearly six years, ever since Philippine customs officials discovered 103 containers from a Canadian company labelled as plastics for recycling were actually more than half-filled with regular trash. The Philippines say the containers are an illegal shipment.

The contents of 34 containers were already disposed of locally in the Philippines, leaving 69 in the ports of Manila and Subic, awaiting a resolution to the dispute.

The country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened last month to forcibly ship them back to Canada and dump some at the Canadian Embassy in Manila if Canadian officials failed to take back the waste.

The Philippines later set a May 15 deadline for Canada to comply but the 69 containers remain in the Philippines while Canada sorts out the red tape needed to bring them back.

Canada attempted until recently to convince the Philippines to dispose of the trash locally but after Duterte’s threats in April, agreed to bring it back to Canada and to pay for the costs.

A court in the Philippines had ordered it returned to Canada in 2016.

Duterte raised the garbage issue in a speech last month while officials from both countries were already discussing a resolution to the issue. The volatile president said he was ready to “declare war against” Canada over the issue.

“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 to Canada and pour their garbage there,” Duterte said, adding he would ask Canadian officials to “prepare a grand reception.”

“Celebrate because your garbage is coming home,” he said. “Eat it if you want to.”

An official later said the war threat was just meant to convey how upset Duterte is about the matter.

The Canadian government said through its embassy in Manila after Duterte’s provocative remarks that it “is strongly committed to collaborating with the government of the Philippines to resolve this issue.” It said it was aware of a Philippine court ruling that ordered a private importer to ship the waste back to Canada.

A group of officials from both sides “is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution,” the embassy said in a statement.

Philippine Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has said “bureaucratic red tape” in Canada slowed the return of the rest.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in 2017 that regulatory hurdles preventing the return of the garbage had been cleared.

Last year, Duterte ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar agreement to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after Canada decided to review the deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the aircraft in counterinsurgency assaults.

The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Canada will bear cost of repatriating trash-filled containers from the Philippines


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province holds power over Langley’s pot farming bylaw

The Township will wait for Ministry of Agriculture approval

150 spoons and counting

Langley Fine Arts teacher Panagiotis Peter Sarganis showcases wooden utensil artwork at Fort Gallery

Fort Langley residents launch passionate debate over demolishing buildings

More than 40 people spoke at a meeting Monday evening

LETTER: Langley was generous during Christmas in July fundraiser

Funds raised go to the Langley School District Foundation food programs for local students.

VIDEO: Langley car wash fights cancer

Non-profit Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society reports record single donation from Langley

VIDEO: Langley kids play Hawaii, again

Milestone year for Langley Ukulele Ensemble as they celebrate quarter century performing in Waikiki

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Most Read