Palace rejects Canada’s offer to ship out trash by end of June
By Azer Parrocha
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacañang on Thursday rejected the offer of the Canadian government to ship out the trash it sent to the Philippines in 2013 by the end of June.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte would not accept having to wait that long when the garbage could be shipped out in a sooner time.
“Di ba ang sabi nila (Canada said) it will take about end of June pa (yet). Di papayag si Presidente dun (The President won’t agree with that),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said her agency has already awarded a contract to bring the waste back promptly by the end of next month.
Panelo said according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the trash will be sent back “the soonest” either this week or the following week.
“(It) can be this week, the week after. Definitely not in the end of June,” Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, said the Palace is “offended” by the reports that Australia has also shipped garbage to the Mindanao Container Terminal in Misamis Oriental, stressing that the government will not allow it.
“It will be offensive of this government to be a recipient of trash. We will not allow it. We will send them back. We will not allow ourselves to be a dumping ground of trash,” he said.
Panelo questioned how containers of trash got passed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) if they were properly declared.
“Dapat alam natin kung basura ‘yan o hindi unless tinago nila (We should know if it’s trash unless they were hiding it). They should be prosecuted if misdeclared,” Panelo said.
He said if investigation shows that the Australian firm that shipped the trash to the Philippines misdeclared the shipment, it could face prosecution.
On Wednesday, Panelo announced that Duterte is willing to pay a private shipping company that will return the garbage to Canada, upset by the failure of North American country to retrieve it.
The Canadian government had earlier committed to shoulder the expenses of shipping out the waste, but failed to meet the May 15 deadline set by Duterte. (PNA)
Canada to complete removal of exported trash by end June
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — A Canadian official said Thursday the removal of the exported waste from the Philippines will be completed by end of next month.
“Canada is pleased to announce that it has awarded a contract to bring the waste back promptly and to ensure its safe and environmentally sound disposal,” Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said in a statement.
“Canada has amended its regulations to prevent this from happening again and is looking at ways to hold the responsible parties to account,” she said.
McKenna said the Canadian government awarded the contract to Bolloré Logistics Canada to safely bring the waste back to Canada as soon as possible.
According to the official website of the Canadian government, the company will begin preparation for shipping in the “coming days.”
“The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements. The safe and environmentally sound disposal in Canada of the waste material will take place before the end of summer 2019,” it said.
Prior to this announcement, Malacañang said it is willing to shoulder the shipping expenses. As of posting, the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to comment on this development.
According to Canada, its government will shoulder the costs of preparation, transfer, shipment, and disposal of the waste.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she has already spoken with Foreign Affairs chief Teodoro Locsin Jr. last week, to reiterate Canada’s commitment to promptly repatriate the waste.
“As I mentioned to their Foreign Secretary last week, we are committed to resolving this issue as quickly as possible. Today is an essential step forward in accomplishing that,” she said.
Both McKenna and Freeland emphasized that Canada values its relations with the Philippines.
“Canada values its deep and longstanding relationship with the Philippines and has been working closely with Filipino authorities to find a solution that is mutually acceptable,” McKenna said.
Freeland, meanwhile, highlighted the people-to-people ties of both nations.
“Canada and the Philippines have a deep and valued relationship underpinned by the hundreds of thousands of Canadians of Filipino descent. The Filipino-Canadian community has made huge contributions to Canada,” she said.
In 2013 and 2014, Canadian company, Chronic Inc., exported containers labelled as recyclable plastics to two importers in the Philippines. It was found out that these also contained household wastes.
Following the repeated calls from the Philippine government to take back its trash, Canada said it issued a request for proposal from Canadian firms on May 10. After a “competitive process”, a contract was awarded to Bolloré Logistics Canada. (PNA)