Canada resolving garbage issue — ambassador

Trash - Container van

THE Canadian Embassy in Manila yesterday reiterated Ottawa’s commitment to resolve the “complex” toxic garbage issue with the Philippines amid a warning from President Rodrigo Duterte that he would declare war against Canada if it would not take back the trash in one week.

“Our Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) committed and has recommitted to resolving this issue, including taking the waste back to Canada. He said that in numerous occasions but we can only do that in partnership of the government of the Philippines,” Ambassador John Holmes said.

He stressed the issue is “complicated” and that “legal and other issues” need to be resolved first.

Holmes said a working group has been established to work on the garbage issue.

The group convened a meeting in Canada two months ago, he said.

“The progress is good but the Philippine side agrees that it’s a complex issue that needs to be worked through very carefully.”

Holmes refuses to say when the tons of trash could be taken back to Canada.

“I’m not putting a timeframe on it but I want to reiterate what our Prime Minister said, he’s committed to allowing those containers to be brought back to Canada.”

In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legal restrictions have prevented the return of the waste to Canada.

He said the transaction was made between two private companies and thus, the question of who will shoulder the cost for the shipment will still have to be ironed out between Canada and the Philippines.

More than a hundred container vans from Canada arrived in batches at the Port of Manila from 2013 to 2014.

The shipment was declared to contain only plastic scraps, but was later found to have non-recyclable plastics, newspapers, household wastes and used adult diapers.