Filipino President Duterte gives Canada one week to take trash back

In 2013 and 2014, a total of 103 shipping containers from Canada labelled as plastics arrived in the Philippines

The president of the Philippines says if Canada doesn’t take back tonnes of trash within the next week he will “declare war” and ship the containers back himself.

Filipino media outlets report that Rodrigo Duterte made threats Tuesday about dozens of shipping containers filled with Canadian household and electronic garbage that has been rotting in a port near Manila for nearly six years.

“I want a boat prepared,” Duterte said. ”I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail.”

Duterte, who is known for his combativeness, threatened to declare war on Canada if the issue isn’t resolved.

“I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way,” he said. ”Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to.”

In 2013 and 2014, a total of 103 shipping containers from Canada labelled as plastics arrived in the Philippines for recycling, but Filipino customs inspectors determined the containers were actually filled with debris from Canadian trash bins.

READ MORE: Canadian garbage rotting in Manila violates international law, lawyers say

Canada has been trying for nearly six years to convince the Philippines to dispose of the garbage there even though a Filipino court ordered the trash returned to Canada in 2016.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the matter on trips to the Philippines in both 2015 and 2017. On the first visit he said Canada had no legal means to force the company that shipped the waste to take the trash back. In 2017 Trudeau said Canada was working very hard on a solution and that it was “theoretically” possible for Canada to take back the trash.

A year after that Canada and the Philippines formed a working group of officials to solve the issue, but nearly six months after that nothing has been resolved.

The Canadian government didn’t appear to be changing its tune following Duterte’s comments. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna sent a written statement that is identical to the statement issued by a different spokeswoman last week, mentioning the working group and promising to work with the Philippines ”to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

“Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Philippines government to resolve this issue and is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada,” wrote Sabrina Kim.

She also mentioned a change to regulations in 2016 meant to prevent such a thing from happening again. The change means Canadian firms will need to get approval to ship waste if the destination country says it is hazardous, even if Canadian officials don’t deem it to be so.

Last week, a legal opinion prepared by the Victoria-based Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation said Canada’s actions with the shipments violate multiple parts of the Basel Convention, a 30-year-old treaty that prevents countries from shipping hazardous waste to the developing world without the receiving country’s consent. The violations include inaccurately describing the contents of the containers, failing to take them back within 30 days of being notified of the hazard, and attempting to get the Philippines to take on the obligation for disposing of the waste.

Kathleen Ruff, founder of rightoncanada.ca, has been trying to get Canada to take back its trash and is incensed.

“It’s incredible to me that the Canadian government just dismisses the fact that it is breaking the law,” she said. ”I guess some people believe they are above the law and count on getting away with it.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: ICBC changes a ‘breath of fresh air’

A Maple Ridge resident welcomes the new changes and impact on rates

Maple Ridge Mounties hope someone recognizes this vandal

At least 25 vehicles were damaged overnight Saturday to Sunday in a north Maple Ridge neighbourhood

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

VIDEO: Giants win 10th straight on home ice in Langley

Family Day was about spending time with the fans and dazzling them with a 3-2 victory over Seattle

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Most Read