DFA chief to Canada: ’We walk away’ if trash not taken

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Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. on Wednesday threatened to “walk away” from Canad should it fail to comply with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s May 15 deadline to ship out the 69 waste containers sent to the Philippines by a Canadian firm.

“We walk away from Canada. You don’t respect us we won’t have anything more to do with you. I know people on our side are hysterical at the prospect, but do we care? no,” Secretary Locsin said in a social media post, Wednesday.

“Duterte does not pass the buck. And I will not. Nor does he make idle threats nor will I. We won’t cease to exist if we part ways with Canada, which is unimaginable over their garbage. They ARE taking it back.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 23 threatened to wage war against Canada if the waste containers remain in the country. He had also given a directive the containers must be shipped out by May 15.

Despite his strong statements, the Secretary said the Philippine government is in close coordination with Canada to meet the May 15 deadline.

He maintained the two states will ship out the containers by then, even as the Department of Finance ( DoF) had noted its possible delay.

“Deadline for the garbage to be onboard the ship taking it away is May 15 and Canada and the Philippines are exerting all efforts to get that done,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin said in a separate post.

“If I may speak for the Canadian ambassador, I think it is best we keep things to ourselves until the garbage is loaded on time.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday disclosed the Canadian government has committed to cover the shipping cost, while the Philippines will shoulder the storage cost at a discounted fee, as allowed by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

The DoF, however, expressed doubt the shipment will push through due to bureaucratic red tape, which may take the Canadian government weeks to accomplish. — Charmaine A. Tadalan