Duterte orders return of garbage to Canada at Philippines' expense

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Metro Manila (May 22, CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte wants the trash from Canada shipped back immediately at the government's expense, his spokesperson said.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte had ordered that the government find a contractor that would return Canada's garbage which have been languishing in Philippine ports since 2013.

"As a result of this offending delay, the President has instructed the appropriate office to look for a private shipping company which would bring back Canada's trash to the latter's jurisdiction," Panelo said, referring to the previous May 15 deadline set by the President.

The spokesperson said that the Philippines would shoulder the shipping cost for the over 2,000 tons of trash that was brought to the Philippines in several batches from 2013 to 2014 by Canadian-based firm Chronic Plastics, Inc.

"The government of the Philippines will shoulder the expenses and we do not mind," Panelo said, although he could not say where exactly the funds wouls come from.

Should Canada not accept the trash, Panelo said that it would be left within the territorial waters of North American country.

"If Canada will not accept the trash, we will leave the same within the territorial waters, or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline, of any of their country's shores," he said.

Asked if the government had already informed Canada about the decision, the spokesperson said that the press conference counted as the announcement.

The move showed just how insulted Duterte was by the Canadian government's failure to meet the May 15 to retrieve the trash.

READ: Canada offers to ship back its trash; DFA says 'delicate negotiations' underway

"The President has already made his position. He, in fact, even said he would declare war. So it means na ganito siya ka-inis (that he is this irritated)," Panelo said.

READ: Duterte threatens war vs. Canada for dumping trash in PH 

As for the possible adverse impact on Filipinos living in Canada, Panelo said, "I don't think they will be affected."

The Philippines recalled its diplomats in Canada immediately day after the May 15 deadline expired.