Outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered that containers carrying trash from Canada should be shipped back to the country. It is the latest chapter in a disagreement over more than 100 containers of trash that were shipped to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, illegally, by a Canadian company.
Canada had previously agreed to take the trash back, but has been slow in making arrangements for its return. Duterte threatened to leave the trash in Canadian waters if Ottawa refuses to take it back, according to Salvador Panelo, spokesman for the President. Quoted by RT, Panelo said Duterte was “upset” by Ottawa’s “inordinate delay” in shipping the garbage back after they missed a May 15 deadline to do so. Officials in the Philippines are now looking to hire a private shipping company to move the waste back to Canada, with Manilla bearing the expenses.
Panelo continued: “Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously.” He continued, saying that the trash would be dumped in Canada's territorial waters, or 12 miles from the country's shore.
“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,” Panelo concluded.
The containers had previously been listed as containing plastics intended for recycling, however, upon delivery, the shipment was found to contain newspapers, water bottles, diapers and other trash. Back in April, Duterte had said of the argument: "They have been sending their trash to us. Well, not this time. We will quarrel with each other. So what if we quarrel with Canada? We’ll declare war against them, we can beat them."
Duterte warned Canada to "prepare a grand reception" for the trash and said he didn't care what Canada did with it. He even suggested that Canadians could "eat it" if they wanted to.