Duterte says to sail garbage back to Canada

April 24, 2019 - 5:32 PM
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Duterte gesturing in a speech
President Rodrigo Duterte gesturing in a speech. (Philstar/File photo)

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte berated Canada on Tuesday in a long-running dispute over waste exported to the Southeast Asia nation, threatening to sail it back to Canada.

Manila has filed several diplomatic protests with Canada over tons of waste shipped to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014. Canada has said the shipment was a commercial transaction and was not backed by its government.

“For Canada’s garbage, I want a boat prepared,” Duterte told officials after being briefed on an earthquake that struck the Philippines on Monday.

“They better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and dump their garbage there,” Duterte added.

In a statement on Wednesday, Canada’s embassy in Manila said officials from both countries were working on issues related to removing the waste “with a view to a timely resolution” and “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

There have been other issues that have strained ties between Manila and Ottawa.

Last year, Duterte ordered the military to cancel a $233 million deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada, after Ottawa expressed concerns they could be used to fight rebels.

In 2017 at the end of a summit of Asian and Western nations in Manila, Duterte berated Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for raising questions about his war on drugs.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Darren Schuettler