Palace halts government trips, deals with Canada

By CNN Philippines Staff

No official trips to Canada for now.

This, according to a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, saying department secretaries and heads of agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and government financial institutions cannot issue travel permits to Canada.

The memo was dated May 20.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed the memo, adding heads of government agencies were told to “reduce official interaction with representatives of the Canadian government.”

In his statement, Panelo said the action was in line with the government’s stance on “diminished diplomatic relations” with Canada after the failure to reclaim garbage shipped to Manila six years ago.

On May 16, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. announced on social media that recall letters were sent to the ambassador and consuls stationed in Canada after it missed the May 15 deadline to pick up the trash.

The Canadian government said it is “disappointed” by Ambassador Petronila Garcia’s recall.

Duterte then ordered the return of the garbage at the Philippines’ expense.<<TO LINK: >>

On May 22, Canadian officials said they contracted a shipping company to bring back the trash, and that Canada would shoulder the cost.

A statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada, a Canadian government agency which gives information on how to protect and conserve the country’s natural heritage, said the removal of the garbage would be completed by the end of June.

Panelo and Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the deadline was unacceptable.

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