By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine government could ship back the tons of garbage to Canada this month as it rejected Canada’s offer to do the retrieval by the end of June.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government was working on the shipment of the Canadian trash at the soonest based on information from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“Sinabi nila it will take about end of June pa. Hindi papayag si Presidente doon [They said it will take about the end of June. The President will not agree with that] and I understand from Secretary Dominguez that malapit nang padala [it will be shipped out soon]. The trash will be sent back the soonest,” he said during a Palace press briefing.
Asked how soon the trash will be shipped back to Canada, Panelo said: “It could be this week or week after. Definitely not the end of June. Ayaw natin ‘yun ang tagal-tagal masyado ‘yun [We don’t want that, it’s too long].”
“We will not allow ourselves to be dumping ground of trash,” he said.
President Duterte earlier moved to forcibly send back to Canada the garbage dumped in the country years amid his dismay with the delay in Ottawa’s action. Canada earlier missed the May 15 deadline to remove the garbage from the Philippines.
Duterte has asked concerned officials to look for a private shipping company to transport the garbage to Canada. The government is prepared to pay for the cost of the garbage shipment, according to Panelo.
If Canada will not accept its trash, Panelo said the garbage will be left within its territorial waters. He said the country must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations.
Responding to Duterte’s statement, Canada has reportedly hired a shipping firm to take back the trash shipment by the end of June.
Catherine McKenna, Canada’s environment minister, reportedly said Ottawa will pay the company more than $1.1 million for the preparation, transfer, shipment, and disposal of the waste.