By Argyll Geducos
Malacañang said that President Duterte’s warning to wage war against Canada over the garbage shipped to the Philippines almost six years ago was just a figure of speech, but emphasized that the Chief Executive was serious in sending the trash back.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Duterte’s strong remarks against Canada that the Philippines will go to war against the North American country if it does not get back the garbage that was shipped from Canada to the Philippines in 2013.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said that Duterte was angry that six years already passed, but Canada still has not taken back their garbage. However, he said the President was not serious with his threat to go to war.
“It’s just a figure of speech… Kumbaga inaasar lang yun (It’s like he is just teasing them). But by statement, we will send them back to your shores if you don’t get that,” he said.
“Ang tagal na noon… Hindi pa nila ginagalaw. Parang pinabayaan na lang nila dito, eh (It’s been here for a long time already yet they still haven’t made a move. It’s like they’re letting it rot here),” he added.
Panelo also said that Duterte’s warning Sunday night that he will dump Canada’s garbage in its beautiful beaches was another figure of speech.
“Figure of speech din ‘yun. Basta ibabalik lang ‘yun. Kailangang ibalik na ‘yun. Kunin na nila (That’s also a figure of speech. We will return their garbage because we need to. They should collect it),” he said.
However, Panelo said Duterte was serious that Canada should collect their garbage within the week. He added that they expect Canada to make a statement, but insisted that it was time for them to finally get its trash back.
“I suppose they will respond. Nag-respond naman sila na, ‘di ba? Ang sabi nila, pag-usapan natin. Ang sabi naman namin, hindi na, anong pag-usapan? Ang tagal na, kunin niyo na iyan. Kung hindi, ibalik namin iyan sa iyo. (They already responded, right? They said we should talk about it. What is there to talk about? It’s been a long time. Just get it already),” he said.
War against Canada
Panelo said that Duterte, despite his strong statement that the Philippines can handle Canada, will not risk an all-out war just because of garbage.
“Siguro kung mga hostilities lang, kaya nating ipag-laban, hindi ‘yung all-out war (Maybe we can manage if it is just hostilities, but not an all-out war),” he said.
“I don’t think any country would want to trigger another world war because all of us will be annihilated,” he added.
Panelo also defended Duterte’s statements against Canada, saying it was just the President’s way of his expressing his anger over the issue.
“Bakit naman irresponsible eh apat (sic) na taon mong tinapon ‘yung basura sa bansa natin, hindi ka mag-sasalita ng ganoon (Why would it be irresponsible for the President when the garbage has been here in the country for four (sic) years already)? That’s an expression of outrage, couched in a very strong term,” he explained.
“Wala (declaration of war). Ibabalik lang. Itapon natin sa kanila (No war will be declared. We will just return it. Dump it in their country),” he added.
Before flying to China, Duterte warned Canada to take back the garbage that was shipped to the Philippines from the North American country in 2013 immediately, or he will send it back to them while also raising the possibility of going to war against their country.
“I cannot understand why they are making us a dumpsite, and that is not the only case on point. Papasunod-sunod ‘yan na pinapadala yung basura sa atin (They have been gradually shipping their garbage to us). Well, not this time. Magkaaway kami ng… (we are not in good terms),” he said.
“Eh, ‘di ano, awayin natin ang Canada. We’ll declare war against them, kaya man natin ‘yan sila (We can handle them),” he added.
Duterte asked the Department of Finance (DOF) to prepare a boat so they can send back Canada’s garbage back to their country. He even warned to dump some of the garbage in front of the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines.
“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, doon sa Canada ibuhos ko ‘yang basura nila doon (I will dump all of their garbage there),” he said.
“Isaoli ko talaga. Tignan mo. Ikarga mo ‘yan doon sa barko (I will really return it, just you wait), load the containers to a ship, and I will advise Canada that, ‘Your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,'” he added.
“Kaya ikarga uli natin ‘yan pabalik sa kanila. Sabihin ko (So let’s their garbage back. I’ll tell Canada), ‘Prepare your… and celebrate because your garbage is coming home.’ Yung iba, mga limang truck ibuhos mo diyan sa (For the others, just dump them in front of the) Canadian embassy,” he continued.
In 2013, a total of 55 container vans of garbage from Canada were discovered by Customs authorities in the Manila seaport. The shipments were allowed into the country because they were allegedly disguised as recyclable plastics.
During his visit to the Philippines in November 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to resolve the issue on his country’s garbage shipment to the Philippines. He explained that Canada was not able to collect the garbage back due to legal restrictions on the part of their country which he noted were already resolved.