Philippines scouting for shipping firm to repatriate garbage to Canada - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Wednesday the concerned government agency to look for a private shipping company that will bring back tons of garbage to Canada.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that if Canada would not accept the wastes, they would be thrown within or near its territorial waters.
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is so upset about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage. We are extremely disappointed with Canada's neither-here-nor-there pronouncements on the matter," he said.
"Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously," he stressed.
The Duterte administration initially set May 15 as the deadline for Canada to take back its containers of garbage, which were exported in the country in batches in 2013 to 2014.
"The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
"As a result of this offending delay, the Presindent has instructed the appopriate office to look for a private shipping company which will bring back Canada's trash to the latter's jurisdiction," he said.
Panelo could not say if it is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or another agency, which were tasked to scout for a shipping firm.
He said the government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses and "we do not mind the same."
"If Canada will not accept the trash, we will leave the same within the territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country's shores," he said.
"The President's stance is principled as it is uncompromising. The Philippines is an independent sovereign nation [and] must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations. We hope this message resonates well with other countries of the world," he added.
Asked if the move would follow the severing of ties with Canada, Panelo said, "it depends. In the meantime, that's it."
He said there would be no more negotiations and the decision to get the service of a shipping company would push through "unless we're beaten into it" by Canada.
He also expressed belief overseas Filipino workers in Canada would not be affected by the President's decision.
As to the effect on trade, Panelo said, "the President has already made his position. In fact he even said that he will declare war. It means that he's really irritated." Celerina Monte/DMS