Canada will accept garbage containers wrongly sent to Philippines, says Manila

May 8, 2019 - 8:56 AM
Canada's PM Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 7, 2019. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

TORONTO — Canada has agreed to take back 69 containers of garbage that were wrongly sent to the Philippines and will pay for their transport, Manila said on Tuesday, potentially ending a protracted diplomatic dispute.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month berated Canada over the waste, which was shipped over from 2013 and 2014 in what Ottawa said was a commercial deal.

A letter from Philippine Department of Finance, released on Tuesday, said the return had been delayed due to “bureaucratic red tape in the Canadian government.”

The containers, labeled as plastics to be recycled in Manila, were actually filled with diapers, newspapers and water bottles. A Philippine court ruled in 2016 that the garbage should be returned to Canada.

“We have made an offer to repatriate this Canadian waste and continue to be closely engaged with the Philippines to resolve the outstanding details, including legal and regulatory issues,” said Guillaume Berube, a spokesman for the Canadian foreign ministry.

The issue is not the only one to strain bilateral ties recently. 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 November 2017, Duterte criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the end of a summit of Asian and Western nations for raising questions about his war on drugs.—Reporting by Tyler Choi, editing by David Ljunggren