Aquino Fact Checks

FALSE: Aquino accepted Canadian waste in exchange for Filipino caregivers’ jobs

FALSE: Aquino accepted Canadian waste in exchange for Filipino caregivers’ jobs
The Department of Foreign Affairs, during the Aquino administration, wrote several diplomatic notes, asking Canada to 'assist with the re-exportation of the containers.' Some of them were disposed of during Aquino's time, but most were returned to Canada during President Rodrigo Duterte's time.
At a glance
  • Claim: President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s administration accepted hospital waste and trash from Canada in exchange for the deployment of Filipino caregivers to North America. 
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The Department of Foreign Affairs, during the Aquino administration, wrote several diplomatic notes, asking Canada to “assist with the re-exportation of the containers.” Some of them were disposed of during Aquino’s time, but most were returned to Canada during President Rodrigo Duterte’s time.  
  • Why we fact-checked this: A June 26 post by former broadcaster Jay Sonza made this claim. As of writing, the post has about 14,000 reactions, 826 comments, and 3,000 shares.
Complete details

A Facebook post by former broadcaster Jay Sonza on June 26 claimed that former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III accepted medical waste and other trash from Canada during his administration in exchange for Filipino caregivers’ deployment to North America.

Sonza’s post included two photos of Manila Bay, one supposedly taken during Aquino’s administration, and the other taken during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

As of writing, the post has around 14,000 reactions, 826 comments, and around 3,000 shares.

This claim is false. 

Aquino did not accept the waste from Canada in exchange for Filipino caregivers’ deployment to North America. There were no official news reports or government announcements connecting the Canadian waste to the caregivers’ deployment. 

Moreover, the image in Sonza’s post was mislabeled as a photo of Manila Bay taken during Aquino’s term. The photo was taken in 2019, during Duterte’s term, for a GMA News report in relation to the Manila Bay white sand project. The source for the photo was found by a member of the “Fact-Checking in the Philippines” Facebook group and was verified by Rappler through a reverse image search. The image that Sonza used also had a GMA News watermark. 

In 2013, waste containers were smuggled into the Philippines from Canada, and labeled as homogenous plastic waste by Philippine-based importer Chronic Plastics. The shipping containers contained kitchen waste, electronics, and diapers, the importation of which was banned by Philippine law due to the presence of household waste and the mixing of different plastics.

The Bureau of Customs subsequently filed cases against Chronic Plastics. Other agencies, including the Department of National Resources and the Department of Justice, were called on to deal with the disposal of the trash. (READ: No ‘trash’ talk between Aquino, Canadian officials) 

The Department of Foreign Affairs, during the Aquino administration, wrote several diplomatic notes, asking Canada to “assist with the re-exportation of the containers.” However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian officials did not commit to any action to move the waste out of the Philippines. (READ: TIMELINE: Canada garbage shipped to the Philippines)

While some of the trash were disposed of by Aquino’s administration, most of the trash were returned to Canada in June 2019 during President Duterte’s term after a series of diplomatic discussions. – Andrea Robang/Rappler.com

Andrea Robang is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one fact check at a time.

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