Malacañang accepts 'reasonable delay' in return of trash to Canada

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 15) — The Canadian government on Wednesday failed to take back tons of garbage it shipped to the Philippines in 2013, but Malacañang said it can accept a "reasonable delay."

"Ang importante kukunin na nila (What's important is they will take it)," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a media briefing.

He added that the Palace expects the shipment of Canadian garbage back to the North American country within the next three weeks.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave Canada until today to repatriate the trash, and even threatened to war against the North American country if it fails do so. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the President was just expressing his "extreme displeasure." The Palace also warned that Canada's failure to take the trash back immediately may result in severed diplomatic ties.

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday expressed dismay over the further delay.

“We are really frustrated na hanggang ngayon na ito, nakarating na yung deadline pero nandito parin,” EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said.

The group also cast doubts on the Duterte government's seriousness in getting rid of the trash, demanding it to present a "re-exportation" plan.

The Department of Finance revealed that "bureaucratic red tape" in the Canadian government is hampering efforts for the shipment of 69 container vans of garbage. Canada offered to shoulder shipping costs.

A total of 103 container vans containing trash weighing over 2,000 tons were shipped to the ports of Subic and Manila in several batches from 2013 to 2014. Only 69 remained at Philippine ports since the other 34 have been disposed.