THE legal impediments preventing the Government of Canada from taking back its waste dumped in the Philippines in 2013 have already been addressed, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still could not say when the garbage will be shipped back to them.
During a press conference on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, Trudeau said he had the opportunity to discuss with President Rodrigo Duterte during their bilateral meeting yesterday morning “the garbage issue which has been a long-standing irritant” and made a commitment to resolve the problem.
“We also discussed the garbage issue which has been a long-standing irritant and I committed to him as I am happy to commit to you all now that Canada is very much engaged in finding a solution on that,” he said.
He explained while Canada is very open to working with the Philippine government to resolve the issue, one barrier that represents a challenge is the Canadian legal regulation which prevents them from being able to receive the waste back even though it came from Canada.
“Legal barriers and restrictions prevented us to take it back, Trudeau said stressing however that “those impediments have now been addressed so it’s theoretically possible to get it back.”
“But there are still a number of questions: who will pay for, where the financial responsibility is, what the consequences are?”
Trudeau said he “expressed to Duterte the assurance that Canadian officials both in the Philippines and Canada will continue to work on this and hopefully resolve this.”
In 2013, the Ontario-based private firm Chronic Inc had imported to the Philippines at least 55 containers filled with trash, including household waste, misdeclaring them as plastic scraps.
During Trudeau’s first visit to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015, he vowed to find a solution to the garbage problem.
Chronic Plastics Inc, the Valenzuela-based consignee, is facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the 1995 Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Disposal.
The international convention, to which both Canada and the Philippines are signatories, provides that “the exporting country must take back the waste materials if the receiving country refuses to accept them.”