Philippine ambassador, consuls recalled over Canada’s failure to take back trash

Photo: ABS-CBN News
Photo: ABS-CBN News

The Philippines is pulling out its envoys in Canada after the latter failed to meet the deadline to take back trash that was allegedly illegally dumped here, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. said in a tweet this morning.

Letters that ordered the recalling of the Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada were sent out at midnight and they are expected to be back here in about a day, Locsin said.

Earlier this month, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Canada that he would ship out the trash and “throw them to the shores or beaches of Canada” if the garbage is not out by May 15. While his threat may have been another exaggeration, the deadline was not. Locsin even reiterated this deadline in a tweet last week.

READ: ‘Eat it if you want to’: Duterte threatens war if Canada does not take back garbage

More than 100 containers from Canada dumped trash in Manila in 2013 and 2014. They came from an Ontario-based company that declared the contents of the containers as recyclable materials, when they were actually waste like plastic bottles, bags, and used adult diapers. In 2016, a Manila court ordered for the trash to be shipped back to Canada.

The Canadian government has promised to resolve the issue multiple times but the garbage remains in a private landfill in Manila.

It’s likely that the Philippine envoys to Canada won’t be reinstated until the trash is taken back.

“Canada missed the May 15 deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there,” Locsin said in his tweet this morning.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said yesterday that the government is open to delaying the shipment for one to three weeks because some documents are still being ironed out, as long as Canada pays for the storage fees.

However, Locsin said in another tweet this morning that he does not consider this an extension of the May 15 deadline.

“That the government may consider a 2 to 3 week delay DOES NOT EXTEND THE DEADLINE. Our diplomatic presence in Canada shall be de minimis,” he said.

He also said that what triggered him to pull out the Philippine envoys was Canada’s alleged failure to meet with Philippine customs officials during the Japanese enthronement ceremony on April 30.

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