By Getsy Tiglao
Canada, which has not taken back the 2,450 tons of garbage it dumped on the Philippines five years ago, is lecturing us on human rights and said it is reviewing its contract to sell 16 Bell helicopters to our military.
As an urban expression goes, “That’s rich,” coming from a country that cannot even show basic decency by taking back the garbage exported by the Canadian company Chronic, Inc., declared as recyclables, but found instead by Filipino environmental groups to contain hospital waste, soiled adult diapers, sanitary napkins, and other dangerous wastes.
Canada’s Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne arrogantly stated that the $233-million contract to sell helicopters to the Philippine military would now be reviewed because they could be used to fight rebels. The deal was struck way back in 2012 during the Aquino administration but was only signed last Tuesday.
Yes, Canada is afraid our military will kill rebels who have been killing soldiers, policemen, and civilians, and whose ultimate goal is to bring down the Philippine Republic. All this liberal fuss just because one of our military officials said the 16 Bell helicopters will be used for internal security operations, search and rescue, and disaster relief operations.
What’s wrong with saying the helicopters will be used for internal security operations? To the Canadian mind, does this immediately equate to our air force men riding the choppers and shooting people? This is such an insult on the integrity and professionalism of our military.
Instead of deigning to explain to the Canadian government what we will use the helicopters for (what are we, five-year olds?), the Philippine government should turn around and say it is reviewing the contract as well because the Canada has not retrieved the garbage it illegally dumped on our shores.
Despite repeated promises since 2013 from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he will act on the problem, he has not moved an inch to remove the toxic and smelly garbage that are still festering in our Manila port. Imagine the health and environmental risks this Canadian garbage poses to our citizens – isn’t this a human rights violation, Mr. Champagne and PM Trudeau?
The Armed Forces of the Philippines should stop its kowtowing to hypocritical foreign governments that say one thing but do another.
Canada, for instance, loves to boast that human rights is a key element of its foreign policy. It is silent, however, on its active and direct participation in the 2001 Afghanistan War, the 1990 Persian Gulf War, and its indirect though deadly participation in the 2003 Iraq War. In the latter event, while Canada did not officially join the international coalition that invaded Iraq, it bragged that it seconded about a hundred of its officers to the US military.
Trudeau has also been sharply criticized for his record on the environment. He is said to talk a “good game” on climate change but his actual actions belie the rhetoric – i.e., hypocrisy from a politician dubbed the “Kim Kardashian of politics.”
Canada’s leader supports several oil pipeline projects, including the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline which will carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada and will cut through the heart of the Midwest, in particularly through the American “breadbasket” states Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, and Kansas.
These states produce most of America’s food, especially meat and wheat. Due to its impact on the soil, waterways, the climate and environment, US President Barack Obama had blocked the project. Now, President Donald Trump said he is reviving it and no one is happier than Trudeau, touted as the pro-environment PM, who said the Keystone XL project will bring more jobs to Canada.
But Canada doesn’t want to sell us a measly 16 helicopters because we might shoot rebels – those who extort billions of pesos from private businesses – and therefore our possible actions offend the delicate Canadian sensibility.
Somebody please tell Champagne and Trudeau the Philippines is fighting the longest war against communist insurgency on the planet. Our military is also up against other rebel, terrorist, and bandit groups, the Abu Sayyaf, the MILF/MNLF/BIFF, the ISIS affiliated Islamic groups, and other armed criminals.
We are a developing country with a lot of problems but unlike some others we are not pretending to be otherwise. Oh, but dear Canada, we will not use your helicopters to shoot rebels. We will just “rescue” them.