MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte gave Canada a weeklong ultimatum to take back tons of garbage dumped in the Philippines back in 2013, MalacaAang confirmed on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Duterte, in a recent speech, threatened to dump the garbage on Canada's beaches if it will not take its trash back within a week.
Panelo said while the President's earlier threat to declare war with Canada over the garbage shipment or dump the garbage on its beaches are merely "figures of speech", Duterte was serious about shipping the trash back if they failed to retrieve it.
"'Yun ang sinabi ni Presidente (That's what the President said)," Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
"We will send them back to your shores if you don't get that (back). And the President last night, he said that, throw them to your beach. Totoo 'yun. Galit siya (That's true. He's angry)," he added.
During the opening ceremonies of the Palarong Pambansa 2019 in Davao City on Sunday (April 28) night, Duterte said the Philippines is not a garbage dump.
"The Filipinos are not scavengers," the President added.
Panelo rejected claims that Duterte's threat to declare an alloutwar was irresponsible, noting that it was simply "an expression of outrage."
He also allayed fears that any country would trigger a war, noting that resolving the conflict through diplomatic negotiations has always been the best route to take.
"I don't think any country would want to trigger another world war because all of us will be annihilated," Panelo said.
Panelo earlier warned that Canada's disposal of its garbage to an ally is "dangerously disruptive "of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Canada.
He, however, clarified that this did not mean that there would be cutting of ties between the Philippines and Canada.
"Hindi naman, disruptive lang (Not really, it will just disrupt our ties)," Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, expressed hope that Canada will respond to Duterte's ultimatum.
"I suppose they will respond," Panelo said.
The Canadian Embassy earlier reiterated commitment to retrieve the trash but did not give any time frame when this would start.
Panelo described Canada's response as "quick but vague" and noted the country's stance on the issue is "nonnegotiable." (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency