Netizens, Canadians to PM Harper: PH not a garbage dump

Mara Cepeda
Netizens, Canadians to PM Harper: PH not a garbage dump
Netizens call on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take back the garbage illegally exported to Manila two years ago

MANILA, Philippines – A day before President Benigno Aquino III’s state visit to Canada, Twitter users called on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take back the garbage illegally exported to Manila two years ago.

In 2013, the Bureau of Customs seized 50 container vans carrying various waste and hazardous materials, including non-recyclable plastics and adult diapers, imported from Canada. They were misdeclared to be containing assorted scrap plastic materials for recycling.

Ang Nars’ Anna Kapunan created an online petition in 2014 asking Harper to take back the illegal trash to Canada. It has since garnered more than 25,000 signatures all over the world.

To further put pressure on the two world leaders, Kapunan urged the public to send tweets tagging Harper (@pmharper) to finally bring the illegal garbage back to Canada.

Twitter users @linanneblack and @pnbrown demanded that Harper make a commitment to the Philippine government (@govph) to take back the illegal trash.

@Rongillmore further tweeted to the Prime Minister, “[Y]ou’re leaving a stinking legacy.”

“Let’s not bully the [P]hilippines. We’ve broken int’l law,” said user @canadanapoleon as a response to the campaign.

Meanwhile, @KateDunlay tweeted: “@pmharper  Canada should not be disposing of its waste in the Philippines. We should deal with our own trash.”

President Aquino will have his state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Three days before his scheduled visit, several environment and labor groups demanded that Aquino bring up the issue of the container vans to the Canadian government. (READ: Groups to Aquino: Remind Canada about illegal trash)

“Mr President, we urge you to stand up to the Canadians and ask Prime Minister Harper to take back their illegal waste shipment,” said BAN Toxics Executive Director Richard Gutierrez.

“Do this not simply because it is the right and legal thing to do, but do so to defend the dignity of the Filipinos.”

Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a press briefing on May 4 that the recommendation from the Department of Foreign Affairs will determine whether or not Aquino will bring up the issue during his visit. – Rappler.com

 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.