As tensions rise amidst the ongoing Philippines Canada garbage dispute, the international relationship between the Philippines and Canada is becoming even more strained. The Philippines is now recalling diplomatic representatives out of Canada, CBC reports. Under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines announced that the country would be recalling its ambassador and consuls in Canada.
The recall order was issued by Duterte in response to Ottawa's inability to comply with a deadline to remove shipping containers full of garbage that were illegally shipped to the Philippines several years ago.
A post to Twitter from Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stated that the Philippines "shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there."
Last month, Duterte announced that if Canada failed to take back the waste, he would forcibly ship the containers of garbage back to Canada. He also threatened to dump some of the garbage at Canada's embassy in Manila. According to CBC News, the deadline for Canada to oblige was May 15th.
Locsin reported that recall letters were sent to Philippines ambassadors and consuls in Canada. In approximately one day's time, they are expected to return to Manila.
"That recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage otherwise we're gonna sever relations with them," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained in a news conference.
From 2013 to 2014, at least 103 containers of garbage, such as plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and diapers, were shipped to the Philippines from Canada, and remain in two ports in Manila and northern Subic freeport. The trash shipment has initiated environmental protests from activists, CBC News says.
The trash was falsely claimed to be recyclable plastic scraps by a private firm, Philippine officials say.
Duterte initially presented the garbage issue last month during a speech, when officials from both the Philippines and Canada were already attempting to come up with a resolution to the issue. The president threatened that he was ready to "declare war against" Canada over the garbage.
"I want a boat prepared. I'll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and pour their garbage there," Duterte told reporters, explaining his intention to ask Canadian officials to "prepare a grand reception."
"Celebrate because your garbage is coming home," he said. "Eat it if you want to."