Duterte bans gov’t trips to Canada
By Azer Parrocha
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacañang on Sunday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has prohibited government officials from traveling to Canada following the delay in the North American country’s commitment to retrieve the 69 containers of trash it dumped in the Philippines in 2013.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed a memorandum dated May 20, 2019, directing “all department secretaries and heads of agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions to refrain from issuing travel authorities for official trips to Canada.”
The memo also directed heads of government agencies to “reduce official interaction with representatives of the Canadian government.” A copy of the memo has yet to be released by the Malacañang.
“We maintain that these directives are consistent with our stance on the diminished diplomatic relations with Canada starting with the recall of our Ambassador and Consul-General in that country in light of Canada’s failure to retrieve its containers of garbage unlawfully shipped to the Philippines,” said Panelo in a statement.
On May 16, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered the recall of Philippine envoys due to Canada’s failure to retrieve its waste.
Panelo said Palace has also rejected the offer of the Canadian government to ship out the trash by the end of June.
Upset by Canada’s failure to retrieve its trash sooner, Panelo earlier announced that the President is willing to pay a private shipping company that will return the garbage to Canada.
“As a result of this offending delay, the President has instructed the appropriate office to look for a private shipping company which will bring back Canada’s trash to the latter’s jurisdiction,” Panelo said in previous Palace briefing.
Panelo said if Canada will not accept their trash, the Philippine government will “leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores.”
Earlier, Panelo also warned that Canada’s inaction on the garbage row could risk disrupting relations between the two countries.
He, however, assured that he does not see this quarrel to have any negative repercussions on Filipino workers in Canada. (PNA)