Official travel ban on Canada

Trash row triggers Rody’s latest order

President Rodrigo Duterte has banned official travel to Canada as tons of rotting trash shipped here by a private Canadian company in 2013 and 2014 remain in the Philippines, Malacañang said Sunday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Canada’s failure to retrieve its containers of garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines triggered President Duterte’s latest order.

“Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum directing all department secretaries and heads of agencies, government-owned-and-controlled corporations, and government financial institutions to refrain from issuing travel authorities for official trips to Canada,” Panelo said.

“The... memo likewise directed heads of government agencies to reduce official interaction with representatives of the Canadian government,” he added

Panelo said Duterte’s directive was consistent with the country’s stance on maintaining diminished diplomatic ties with Ottawa while the garbage problem remained unresolved.

Last week, the President sanctioned the recall of the Philippine ambassador and consuls in Canada. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also maintained that the country’s diplomatic presence in Canada will remain diminished until the waste containers have been “ship-bound there.”

Earlier, Southeast Asian environmental non-governmental organizations called on their respective governments to strictly enforce bans on illegally shipped wastes from developed countries.

“The recent news about waste shipments… [in] the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia is alarming. When the wealthy nations clean up, it should not have to be at the expense of the developing world. Governments in Asia, which has become the world’s new dumpsite, must strictly guard their territories against waste smuggling from richer countries,” said Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific coordinator.

Early this month, waste shipments from Australia arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. These were declared as municipal waste and processed engineered fuel intended for the cement company Holcim.

The news of the shipment broke out as the Manila demanded the Canadian government take back 69 containers of illegally shipped wastes found in the Port of Manila in 2013 and 2014.

“The entry into our country of residual wastes generated by Australia’s commercial, industrial, and construction sectors in the form of cement kiln fuels looks like a devious disposal scheme. Described as ‘municipal waste’ in the shipment declaration, Australia is able to get rid of its residual wastes in a profitable way by converting and relabeling them as processed engineered fuel for export to developing countries like ours. We question this latest scheme of foreign waste disposal,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of Ecowaste Coalition.

Early this year, at least 60 shipping containers carrying hazardous and toxic wastes have been piling up at the Batu Ampar port in Batam, Riau Island, in Indonesia for five months. Earlier, a shipment containing waste from foreign countries was discovered in Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta.

“This has to stop. It is the height of hypocrisy for the richer countries to be presenting themselves to the world as having good waste management system, while at the same time, polluting us and calling us the world’s biggest polluters. Shame on them! Come clean up your mess and stop producing so much waste,” said Yuyun Ismawati, co-founder of BaliFokus/Nexus3. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

READ: PH as garbage dump? Aussies follow suit after Canada, SoKor

READ: Duterte orders garbage sent back to Canada

READ: Waste shipments flow roiled Palace

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , travel , ban , Canada , Salvador Panelo , Salvador Medialdea
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