Filipinos can endure many things, but being made a dumping ground of another country’s waste is an instant berserk button. Such an incident took place in 2013, when cargo vessels deposited 69 containers full of Canadian garbage in the Philippines. This came from a Canada-based company that sent the trash to be disposed of in the country. Both the government and the Filipino people were aghast and demanded that Canada take back its garbage. However negotiations between the two parties have stalled over five years. Finally, some resolution has come up with Canada accept responsibility for taking back their waste.
CNN Philippines reports that Canada will be footing the cost of shipping back their 69 cargo containers of garbage back from the Philippines to their country. This development stemmed from a prior discussion on the matter between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet on the evening Monday, May 6. Cabinet officials announced the news this Tuesday, May 7 with a statement from Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. The fact that Canada is paying for taking back its waste was divulged by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Department of Foreign Affairs also notes that the container terminal operator currently housing the trash containers is waiving further fees until the garbage is finally shipped out.
“We will shoulder at a huge discount from International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) the container storage costs,” noted DFA Secretary “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr on his official Twitter page. “This is thanks to the Canadian ambassador’s prompt response to the President’s demarche if you want to call it that.” The ICTSI operates the Manila International Container Terminal, where the Canadian waste containers have been stored for almost half of this decade. Alternatively to waiving their due fees, they could instead discount the storage cost.
While the Canadian garbage affair went relatively quiet following the initial outrage in 2013, it again reared its ugly head to both the Philippines and Canada when President Duterte threatened the latter with a declaration of war. As is now a routine, this aggressive proclamation was reinterpreted, this time by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, to be merely a symbolic statement of the head of state’s anger at Canadian vacillation over reassuming responsibility for its trash.
“The President is firm that we are not garbage collectors, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country,” remarked Spokesperson Panelo, recalling Duterte’s directive to Customs to turn away foreign cargo containers with garbage entering the country. The President had also spoken of the Philippines hauling the garbage back to Canadian territory and dumping them on their beaches.
Image courtesy of AsiaOne