Palace justifies recall of diplomats in Canada
Malacanang justified on Thursday the order of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to recall the Philippine diplomats to Canada, saying it was meant to persuade the other country to immediately act over the garbage problem.
On his Twitter account, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the letters for the recall of the Philippine envoy and consuls to Canada "went out" at "midnight last night."
"They are expected here in a day or so. Canada missed the May 15 deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there," he said on his tweet Thursday morning.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo recalled that in his previous statements, he mentioned that Canada's refusal to immediately take back the garbage would be "disruptive" on the diplomatic relations of the two countries.
"That order of the recall is to persuade them to make it fast. The more they delay, the more personal we'll be coming back," he said.
"The recall shows that we are very serious in asking to get back their garbage. Otherwise, we're gonna sever relations with them," Panelo added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned to declare war against Canada if it would not take back its garbage immediately.
He also threatened to dump the garbage at the Canadian Embassy in the country.
Over 100 containers of Canadian waste have been rotting in the country after they arrived in batches from 2013 to 2014.
Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a virtual presser in Malacanang on Thursday, said the issue on garbage is "separate" and "temporary" from the Philippine trade with Canada.
"We have to continue with all these trade, investment activities," he said, citing that the government would push through with its promotion activity to be done soon in Canada.
He said the government has to look also on its "longer term relationship" with Canada. Celerina Monte/DMS