Malacañang sees a possible reconciliation with Canada as Canada’s trash shipment begins its journey back to the North American country.
Tons of garbage sent to the Philippines years ago was shipped back to Canada on Friday after a festering diplomatic row, as Asian nations increasingly reject serving as dumping grounds for international trash.
After a long campaign to urge Canada to take back the rotting waste, President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at Ottawa last week and ordered the refuse returned immediately.
The 69 shipping containers of garbage were loaded onto a cargo vessel at Subic Bay, a former US naval base and shipping port northwest of Manila, and began the lengthy trip to Canada.
“We feel jubilant that 69 containers of Canadian rubbish are now homeward-bound after being stranded here for so long,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“The Philippines is not the world’s dump site. Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people’s health, and the environment.”
On Friday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted images of the m/v Bavaria departing from the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp.
He again posted a message on Twitter advising the Philippine representatives to Canada to get ready for their flights back.
“To our recalled posts, get your flights back. Thanks and sorry for the trouble you went through to drive home a point,” he said in a separate tweet.
Earlier in Tokyo, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Malacañang was hoping the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Canada would go back to normal.
“Hopefully it’s like that because it [trash] triggered the disruptive relations,” Panelo told reporters while raising the possibility of reinstating the Philippine Embassy officials recalled from Canada.
“Well, if the reason for the recall was the trash, then if the trash has been brought back, so there’s no more reason. That’s the logic.”
All 69 containers of mixed waste were finally loaded onto the m/v Bavaria, the shipping vessel hired by the Canadian government for the reshipment of the garbage.
Canada missed the May 15 deadline set by President Duterte for the return of the trash, prompting the recall order and a halt in official travels to Canada.
Canada offered to ship out the garbage by the end of June but Duterte did not allow any delays and ordered to hire a private company even at the expense of the Philippine government.
Concerned that the Philippines may be severing diplomatic ties, Canada moved to immediately take back the trash shipment with the Philippine government earning praises from the international community.
READ: Trash returning to senderREAD: PH-Canada rift widens; Filipino envoys recalled
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.