Bayan wants ‘consistent’ foreign policy amid Duterte war threat over garbage
MANILA, Philippines — The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has commended the “attitude shown” by President Rodrigo Duterte against Canada’s garbage brought into the country, but found it rather wanting and hoped the Chief Executive would show the same “tough talk” against China on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
According to Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, returning the trash to Canada is important but, “How we wish the attitude shown against Canada’s garbage can also be seen against China’s island-grabbing and plunder of our exclusive economic zone.”
“Of course we want the garbage and toxic wastes returned to Canada. However, we also want consistency in our foreign policy. We also should demand China stop its island-grabbing and illegal activities in Panatag and Pag-asa,” added Reyes in a message to reporters on Wednesday.
“We are not the garbage dump of any foreign power, nor are we be a push-over in our own territory and exclusive economic zone,” he further said.
Reyes, however, also noted Duterte’s varying threats of war that has become somewhat “tiresome.”
“The President’s threats of going to war with Canada over garbage dumped in the Philippines, while obviously an exaggeration, is now getting tiresome […] While on the subject of foreign toxic wastes, shouldn’t the President also demand that the US clean up its toxic wastes in its former military bases in the Philippines?” he asked.
“This has been a long standing injustice and affront to the Filipino people. Again, the demand is for an independent and consistent foreign policy, not just tough talk meant to distract from other issues,” he added.
In a speech at earthquake-stricken Pampanga on Tuesday, Duterte said threatened to declare war against Canada if it does not take back the garbage it sent to Philippine shores six years ago.
“Awayin natin ang Canada. I will declare war against them. Kaya man natin ‘yan sila. Isauli ko talaga ‘yan. Ah, tingnan mo. Ikarga mo ‘yan doon sa ano sa barko, load it — the containers to a ship and advice Cana — and I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way,” the President said.
At least 100 shipping containers filled with garbage described as scrap plastics were sent to the Philippines by private Canadian companies in 2013. However, the trash was eventually deemed unfit for recycling since 64 of the containers were solid waste for immediate disposal.
Canada’s Prime Mister Justin Trudeau assured Duterte during the 31st Asean Summit in November 2017 that they will take back the garbage once legal requirements are dealt with.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.