MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to clean up the 2,450 tons of trash that it dumped in the country in June 2013.
In a statement, Pimentel said that Canada’s move of taking back its garbage justifies its claim of being a defender of human rights and rule of law.
“I call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be true to his word and take back the trash that was shipped to our country in violation of our laws. This can only enhance Canada’s self-imposed burden of being a champion of human rights and the rule of law,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel proposed Senate Resolution No. 553 on December 4, 2017, calling on for a Senate investigation on the shipment.
During the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, Trudeau said that the legal restrictions stopping the return of the trash to Canada have been addressed, saying that it is already “theoretically possible” for the country to get the garbage back.
The shipment is the subject of a criminal case filed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) against Chronic Plastics, Inc. in February 2014 for violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.
The trash, which consisted of non-recyclable materials, including used adult diapers, were dumped at a private landfill in Tarlac in June 2015.
The Canadian government, on the other hand, ignored a formal request by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in 2015 to the Canadian embassy for assistance to bring the garbage back to Canada.
The senator also said the cargo not just violated RA 6969, but also the Philippine Constitution, which mandates the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
“Canada’s casual disregard for the health of Filipinos and the preservation of our environment shows a stark contrast to its supposed concern for our human rights. I challenge Prime Minister Trudeau to back his words with actions,” Pimentel said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to scrap the $233-million deal to procure 16 helicopters from Canada after Trudeau raised concerns about supposed human rights violations under Duterte’s administration.
Ottawa expressed fear that the helicopters would be used to fight rebels.
Asked whether he was worried the helicopters might be used against Filipinos, Trudeau answered: “Absolutely.
The Canadian government ordered a review of the deal based on human rights concerns a day after it was signed by both governments.