Justin Trudeau back in Manila for ASEAN Summit

MANILA, Philippines – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned to the Philippines on Sunday, November 12, for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Metro Manila.

Trudeau’s plane landed at the Clark International Airport at around 1:50 pm, to join at least 19 other world leaders flying to Manila for the two-day event. 

The Canadian Prime Minister had previously visited the country in 2015 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit during the term of ex-Philippine president Benigno Aquino III. 

Trudeau took the Philippine social media by storm then – and a similar frenzy is expected over his arrival for the ASEAN summits this year. (READ: Frenzy over 'APEC hottie' Justin Trudeau at end of APEC meet

He already met Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at this year’s APEC Summit at Da Nang, Vietnam. 

Trudeau’s visit is once again hounded by the ongoing row surrounding the 1,300-ton garbage that Ontario-based company Chronic Incorporated illegally dumped in the Philippines in 2013. 

The issue was not discussed by Aquino and Trudeau during their bilateral meeting at the time, but it was raised by reporters in a separate press briefing held by Trudeau.

He was non-committal to environmental groups’ calls for Canada to take back its trash, only saying that he was aware of the issue and he was told “there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed.”

Two years later, Canada’s trash remains in the Philippines.  

Environmental group BAN Toxics already urged Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to make good on his campaign promise to hold Canada and Trudeau accountable for their trash. 

In 2015 – a year before he was elected – Duterte called on Aquino to lodge a diplomatic protest against the Canadian government for its trash, which was misdeclared in 2013 as assorted scrap plastic materials for recycling.

Instead, what the Bureau of Customs seized were 50 container vans carrying various waste materials, including non-recyclable plastics and adult diapers, imported from Canada. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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