MANILA -- The Canadian Embassy in Manila on Wednesday reiterated Ottawa's commitment to resolve the issue of garbage shipped to the Philippines in 2013 following a warning from President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Our Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) committed and has recommitted to resolving this issue, including taking the waste back to Canada. He said that in numerous occasions but we can only do that in partnership of the government of the Philippines," Ambassador John Holmes said, noting the issue is "complicated" and that "legal and other issues" need to be resolved first.
The envoy stressed that both sides continue to work towards a solution and have in fact established a working group that convened a meeting in Canada two months ago.
"The progress is good but the Philippine side agrees that it's a complex issue that needs to be worked through very carefully."
Asked what challenges they are facing, Holmes refused to provide details saying "it's very complex."
He also declined to put a timeline as to when the shipment could be sent back to its origin.
"I'm not putting a timeframe on it but I want to reiterate what our Prime Minister said, he's committed to allowing those containers to be brought back to Canada."
In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legal restrictions have prevented the return of the waste to Canada.
Among these issues is which party will pay for the shipment.
More than a hundred container vans from Canada arrived in batches at the Port of Manila from 2013 to 2014.
Initially declared to contain only plastic scraps, it was found to have non-recyclable plastics, household wastes and used adult diapers.
Holmes acknowledged that the two states face "occasional challenge," but overall, Ottawa and Manila have a "strong partnership."
"This is the 70th anniversary of our bilateral relations, we have outstanding relations with the government and people of the Philippines, we have good and growing trade relationship. Overall, it's a strong partnership."
"We have the occasional challenge, that's normal but we count on good cooperation from our colleagues in the Philippines and the almost one million Filipinos who live in Canada," he said. (PNA)
Photo by Gigie Cruz/BAN Toxics/Rappler