Philippines recalls ambassador, consuls in Canada over garbage shipments

Philippines recalls its envoys in Canada over tons of rotting garbage

The Philippines is recalling its ambassador and consuls in Canada over Ottawa's failure to comply with a deadline to take back truckloads of rubbish that Filipino officials say were illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago, officials said. "And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship-bound there", Locsin wrote on Twitter.

Last month, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would "sail to Canada and dump their garbage there".

A total of 103 container vans containing trash were shipped to Subic and Manila in several batches from 2013 to 2014.

Manila says the containers, which arrived at Manila International Container Port, were falsely labelled as containing plastics meant for recycling and were in fact filled with tonnes of household waste.

Canada is home to thousands of Filipinos and those of Philippine ethnic origin, numbering more than 800,000, according to data on the website of the Philippine Embassy in Canada.

"The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the Government of the Philippines and has made an offer to repatriate this Canadian waste".

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte has been informed about Locsin's recall order. They came from an Ontario-based company that declared the contents of the containers as recyclable materials, when they were actually waste like plastic bottles, bags, and used adult diapers.

In his tough rant, Duterte called for boats to be prepared to ship back the containers, advising Ottawa to "prepare a grand reception", and suggesting that Canadians "eat it" if they want to.

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During his visit to Manila in November 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Duterte that they were already "finding a solution" to the problem, pointing to "legal barriers" that blocked the immediate the re-exportation of the trash.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later downplayed Duterte's war threats, saying the president was using a "figure of speech" to express his displeasure. In a statement, he said that if the Canadians dragged their feet any longer, he would ship the containers and "throw them to the shores or beaches of Canada".

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment.

Canada earlier affirmed its commitment to take back the garbage.

"Canada and the Philippines continue to collaborate closely to resolve the issue", its embassy in Manila said.

"The stark contrast between South Korea's actions and Canada's indifference to its dumped waste has captured public attention and stoked anger at what is viewed as both disrespectful and illegal conduct by Canada", the letter said.

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