A week after threatening to start a war with Canada over rotting garbage, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is now reportedly saying he will dump the trash on Canada’s “beautiful beaches.”
Duterte spoke at a sports event in the country on Sunday night, once again taking aim at Canada over the lingering garbage dispute.
“I will tell them to load it onto ships next week. If you don’t accept your garbage, I will dump it on your beautiful beaches,” he said, according to news outlet Asia One.
The president’s spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, confirmed the remarks on Monday during a press briefing, Philippines News Agency reported.
But Panelo said Duterte’s threats are “figures of speech” — but the president’s anger over the issue is real.
“I don’t think any country would want to trigger another world war because all of us will be annihilated,” Panelo said, according to the press agency.
This is far from the first time Filipino officials have called on Canada to do something about the rotting garbage, which was shipped to Manila by a private Canadian firm in 2013 and 2014.
Just last week, he told reporters that Canada has one week to take back its garbage.
“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 to Canada and dump their garbage there,” Duterte said.
“Celebrate because your garbage is coming home,” he added. “Eat it if you want to.”
The years-long delay has prompted criticism from environmental advocates.
Earlier this month, a number of environmental and advocacy groups, including rightoncanada.ca, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the EcoWaste Coalition in the Philippines, urged Trudeau to finally order his officials to bring the containers back to Canada for disposal.
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In a statement to Global News last week, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s press secretary said Canada is “strongly committed” to resolving the problem.
“Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Philippines government to resolve this issue and is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada,” press secretary Sabrina Kim said.
“Currently, a joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution.”
— With a file from The Canadian Press