March 1, 2024
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare war if Canada doesn’t take back the trash a Canadian company sent there more than six years ago, according to local media reports.

If Canada doesn’t reclaim the garbage as early as next week, Duterte said he would send the garbage back himself, according to news outlets The Inquirer and ABS-CBN News.

“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and I’ll pour the garbage there,” Duterte said, during a briefing about a recent earthquake.

“I cannot understand why they are making us a dumpsite,” he said. If Canada didn’t listen, Duterte said, “we’ll declare war against them.”

Translated from Filipino, Duterte also added “we’ll fight with Canada. We can take them down. I’ll return their trash — just wait and see.”

“(I’ll) load the containers to a ship, and I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way,” Duterte said, stressing Canada was belittling the Philippines. “Prepare a grand reception. Eat it (the garbage) if you want to.”

More than six years ago, Chronic Inc., a Canadian plastics exporter, dumped more than 100 shipping containers of garbage disguised as plastics for recycling into the Philippines. The containers arrived in Manila in 2013 and 2014.

The trash consisted of used adult diapers, newspapers, plastic bottles and bags. Some experts have said the garbage violates international law.

Last week, Anthony Ho, a lawyer for the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation, said the shipments violate multiple parts of the Basel Convention, a 30-year-old treaty that prevents countries from shipping hazardous waste to the developing world without their consent.

Trudeau has acknowledged that the garbage has been a long-standing irritant for the Philippines. During a 2017 trip to Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, Trudeau told Duterte that Ottawa was working on the issue.

“I committed to him, as I’m happy to commit to you all now, that Canada is very much engaged in finding a solution on that,” Trudeau said at the time.

During the past several years, Duterte has been at odds with Trudeau after the Canadian prime minister citing human rights abuses in the Philippines.

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