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Philippines recalls envoys in Canada over trash shipments

AP  |  Manila 

The is recalling its and consuls in over Ottawa's failure to comply with a deadline to take back truckloads of garbage that Filipino officials say were illegally shipped to the years ago, officials said Thursday.

tweeted that the "shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in until its garbage is ship bound there."

The drastic move is the latest strain in Philippine relations with under

Duterte threatened last month to forcibly ship the containers of garbage back to Canada and dump some at its embassy in if Canadian officials don't take back the waste. Officials later set a May 15 deadline for Canada to comply.

Locsin said in his tweet that letters for the recall of the Philippine and consuls in Canada have been sent and that they were expected back in after about a day.

"That recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage otherwise we're gonna severe relations with them," told a regular conference.

At least 103 containers of household trash, including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and diapers, were shipped in batches from Canada to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014.

Most of the shipping containers remain in two ports in and northern Subic freeport, sparking protests from environmental activists. Philippine officials say they were falsely declared by a private firm as recyclable plastic scraps and have asked Canada to take back the garbage.

Duterte raised the garbage issue in a speech last month while officials from both countries were already discussing a resolution to the issue. The volatile said he was ready to "declare war against" Canada over the issue.

"I want a boat prepared. I'll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and pour their garbage there," Duterte said, adding he would ask Canadian officials to "prepare a grand reception." "Celebrate because your garbage is coming home," he said. "Eat it if you want to."


The said through its embassy in Manila after Duterte's provocative remarks that it "is strongly committed to collaborating with the government of the Philippines to resolve this issue."

It said it was aware of a ruling that ordered a private importer to ship the waste back to Canada.

A group of officials from both sides "is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution," the embassy said in a statement.

A ordered the private importers in 2016 to ship the waste back to Canada. Of 103 shipping containers that entered the Philippines, the waste from 34 has been disposed of locally.

has said " bureaucratic red tape" in Canada slowed the return of the rest.

Canadian said in 2017 that regulations preventing the return of the garbage had been resolved.

Last year, Duterte ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar agreement to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after its government decided to review the deal due to concerns the might use the aircraft in counterinsurgency assaults.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 16 2019. 16:10 IST
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