Philippines withdraws top diplomats from Canada over ‘trash’ row

Philippines withdraws top diplomats from Canada over ‘trash’ row

The Philippines recalled its ambassador and consuls to Canada after Ottawa missed a deadline to take back tons of unwanted trash that has been rotting near Manila for almost six years, the country's foreign secretary said Thursday.

Chronic Inc. of the Canadian province of Ontario shipped the household trash-including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and diapers-to the Philippines through Chronic Plastics Inc. of Valenzuela City.

On May 7, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued an ultimatum to reclaim the waste and threatened "if they can not get that, then we will be shipping them out and throw them into the shores or beach of Canada", Panelo said.

Despite the diplomatic spat, Canada said it values its deep and longstanding relationship with Manila.

"At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out".

"Canada missed the. deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship-bound there", Locsin wrote on Twitter.

The move is the latest escalation in a long-simmering conflict that has weighed heavily on the relationship between the two countries and that has called into question Canada's pro-environment reputation and its commitments to global treaties. Duterte bristles at any worldwide criticism of his hardline policy, which has seen police kill thousands of alleged addicts and pushers since 2016.

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Last year, Duterte ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar agreement to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after its government chose to review the deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the aircraft in counterinsurgency assaults.

Earlier last month, Mr Duterte strongly criticised Canada, saying it had turned his country into a "dump site".

"The container vans were falsely declared to contain homogenous plastic scrap material when in fact these shipments contained heterogenous waste including baled household garbage", CELL said. Duterte frequently uses coarse language and hyperbole in speeches about opponents. "No comment right now", he said in an email to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on May 1.

Last month, the Pacific Centre for International Law and Litigation in British Columbia issued a legal opinion that said Canada had violated the convention because it inaccurately described the content of the containers and failed to take them back within 30 days of being notified of their contents. Of 103 shipping containers that entered the Philippines, the waste from 34 has been disposed of locally.

Locsin also took issue with Philippine diplomats for not doing enough to ensure Canada took back the trash, accusing them of acting in defiance of their president to preserve friendly relations.

According to Locsin's tweet, Canadian officials were supposed to meet with Filipino customs officers to discuss the trash during the recent Japanese enthronement ceremony but they allegedly did not show up.

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