Philippines bans gov't trips to Canada amid trash row

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Sunday, May 26, confirmed it issued a memorandum banning government trips to Canada, highlighting the Southeast Asian country's diminished interaction with Canada in the face of a garbage issue. 

"We confirm that Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea issued a memorandum dated 20 May 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," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

"The aforesaid memo likewise directed heads of government agencies to reduce official interaction with representatives of the Canadian government," he added.

Panelo said that the memorandum is consistent with the Philippines' stance on diminished relations with Canada, after failing to take home its 103 containers of garbage.

"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," Panelo said.

In April, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened "war" against Canada if it fails to bring home the garbage Canada-based shippers illegally dumped in Manila.

Duterte ordered Philippine government officials to look for a private shipper that would bring back the trash to Canada.

In 2013, around 1,300 tons of Canadian garbage were illegally shipped into the Philippines by a private importer, Ontario-based company Chronic Incorporated. (READ: TIMELINE: Canada garbage shipped to the Philippines)

Canada initially refused to bring the garbage back to their soil, citing lack of authority over the private shipper.  On Wednesday, May 22, however, Canada announced it has hired a company to ship out its waste from the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

image