Malacañang on Thursday rejected the offer of the Canadian government to ship out the trash it sent to the Philippines in 2013 by the end of June.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte would not accept having to wait that long when the garbage could be shipped out in a sooner time.
“Di ba ang sabi nila (Canada said) it will take about end of June pa (yet). Di papayag si Presidente dun,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said her agency has already awarded a contract to bring the waste back promptly by the end of next month.
Panelo said according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the trash will be sent back “the soonest” either this week or the following week.
“(It) can be this week, the week after. Definitely not in the end of June,” Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, said the Palace is “offended” by the reports that Australia has also shipped garbage to the Mindanao Container Terminal in Misamis Oriental, stressing that the government will not allow it.
“It will be offensive of this government to be a recipient of trash. We will not allow it. We will send them back. We will not allow ourselves to be a dumping ground of trash,” he said.
Panelo questioned how containers of trash got passed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) if they were properly declared.
“Dapat alam natin kung basura ‘yan o hindi unless tinago nila.They should be prosecuted if misdeclared,” Panelo said.
He said if investigation shows that the Australian firm that shipped the trash to the Philippines misdeclared the shipment, it could face prosecution.
On Wednesday, Panelo announced that Duterte is willing to pay a private shipping company that will return the garbage to Canada, upset by the failure of North American country to retrieve it.
The Canadian government had earlier committed to shoulder the expenses of shipping out the waste, but failed to meet the May 15 deadline set by Duterte. (PNA)