Canada has offered to pay for the cost of shipping back the 69 containers full of waste that a Canada-based private company dumped in the Philippines, Cabinet officials said on Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet secretaries discussed the issue of garbage from Canada during their Cabinet meeting on Monday night.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources noted that the Canadian government is committed to shoulder all the expenses to ship out all the 69 waste containers,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. added the government has asked the International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) — the operator of the Manila International Container Terminal where the containers of Canadian trash were shipped to waive the fees or give a discount for storage cost while awaiting shipping.
“We will shoulder at a huge discount from ICTSI the container storage costs. This is thanks to the Canadian ambassador’s prompt response to the President’s demarche if you want to call it that,” he said in a tweet.
Panelo said Duterte reiterated his sentiment that the Philippines is not a dump site, adding the Bureau of Customs was directed not to accept containers filled with garbarge.
“The President is firm that we are not garbage collectors, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country,” the spokesperson said.
The illegally dumped garbage was brought back to the spotlight as Duterte threatened to go to war against Canada if it would not take the trash back. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quick to clarify that the President did not really mean war, but was just expressing his “extreme displeasure.”
The Canadian Embassy in the Philippines reponded that Ottawa is “strongly committed” to shipping the trash back. Malacañang was not satisified with Canada’s statement and warned that further delay in the repatriation of trash could result in severed diplomatic ties.
Benny Antiporda, Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns, told CNN Philippines the only thing blocking the return of the garbage to Canada was the expenses. The Manila Regional Trial Court in May 2017 already ordered the return of 50 container vans carrying Canadian garbage, to be paid for by the Canadian private company that had it shipped.