Canada is now working with the Philippine government for the timely resolution of the dispute on how to remove tons of Canadian waste shipment to the country, a matter that recently got the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution,” the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement.
Duterte earlier threatened to “declare war” against Canada if it fails to retake its trash in a week.
“I will declare war against them. I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,” the President warned.
In 2013, the Bureau of Customs impounded 50 containers of waste from Canada and left to rot in the ports, which have become subject of diplomatic protest from Manila.
The Philippine government has already conveyed its objection to the shipment to Canada through diplomatic notes. Ottawa insisted it was not backed by its government and that it was a private transaction.
Nonetheless, the Canadian Embassy said Canada is “strongly committed to collaborating with the government of the Philippines to resolve this issue.”
According to the statement, it is also aware of a court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada.
In 2016, Canada amended its regulations around hazardous waste shipments to prevent such events from happening again.
“We are committed to working collaboratively with the government of the Philippines to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way,” it said.
Meanwhile, Senator Aquilino Pimentel said that while he believes that President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to declare war against Canada if it does not take out its trash from the Philippines an “exaggeration,” Canada must seriously act on the matter.
Pimentel said the issue of waste dumping into the country has been pending for so long.
“I have also raised this issue with the Canadian ambassador when he paid me a courtesy call as Senate president,” he added.
He said that no country (no matter how poor) should be treated as a dumping ground of d waste of rich countries.
“That is prohibited even under international law,” Pimentel said.
The senator said that he had already filed a bill prohibiting the dumping of waste in the Philippines even under the guise of waste to energy.
He said this was similar to what just happened with the Korean trash dumped in Mindanao.
“Bawal na yan kahit na legit pa kuno ang purpose pero alam naman natin na dumping Lang naman yan talaga kunwari lang na waste to energy,” said Pimentel.
Sen. JV Ejercito also agreed with the President that Canada should take back its trash.
“It should not be a precedent. The Philippines should not be a dumping ground of first world countries’ wastes,” he said.
Duterte said he wants a boat prepared. He will 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 throw all their garbage there.”
“I cannot understand why they are making us a dumpsite, and that is not the only case on point. Papasunod-sunod ‘yan na pinapadala ‘yung basura sa atin. Well, not this time,” Duterte added.
The President then warned that he would declare war against Canada if it would not take its trash back.
“We can face them. I’ll really return that trash. Just wait. Load that up on 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 said.