Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2019   •   11404

MANILA, Philippines — The Canadian government has agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all the 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed the matter during the 37th Cabinet meeting on Monday (May 6) with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President is firm that we are not garbage collectors, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country,” Panelo said in a statement to reporters.

In April, President Duterte issued a stern warning saying he would declare “war” against Canada if it failed to remove its trash illegally exported to the country, and emphasized that he would no longer allow the North American country to turn the Philippines into a “dumpsite.”

“We will declare war. Load the containers onto a ship and advise Canada. I will advise Canada that, ‘Your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,’” he added.

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

In response, the Canadian Embassy to the Philippines reiterated its government’s commitment “to working collaboratively with the Government of the Philippines to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

 “A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution,” the Canadian Embassy said in a statement. – Marje Pelayo

Challenge denied: No 6-month commute challenge for Panelo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo did not accept the challenge of a commuter group to continue to the commute challenge for six months.

In a press briefing on Monday (October 14), Panelo said there is no need to accept the challenge of Kongreso ng Mananakay because everyone experiences heavy traffic, whether you are commuting or in a private vehicle.

“Kahit hindi ka sumakay doon, mararanasan mo pa rin dahil araw-araw nakikita mo iyon hindi na kailangang tumanggap ng anong paghamon (Even if you do not commute, you can still experience [traffic] because you can see it everyday without accepting any challenges),” Panelo said.

READ: Panelo on commuting to work: It’s nothing new

Panelo also challenged to provide suggestions to solve the traffic crisis instead of criticizing the government.

“Kaya ko lang naman pinagbigyan sila para ipamukha sa kanila na hindi totoo iyong hindi namin nararanasan (The only reason I accepted their challenge was to belie their claims that we do not experience [the crisis]),” Panelo added.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Panelo: There is no transportation crisis, only traffic crisis

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 11, 2019

A jeepney, a popular and uniquely Filipino mode of mass transport, maneuvers amid heavy traffic in Makati city, south of Manila, Philippines. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Metro Manila is experiencing a traffic crisis and not a transportation crisis.

After accomplishing the commute challenge on Friday (October 11), Panelo reiterated his claim that there is no mass transportation crisis in Metro Manila. However, he said Metro Manila is facing a traffic crisis.

READ: Panelo on commuting to work: It’s nothing new

“Mayroong traffic crisis, hindi transportation crisis. When you say transportation crisis, wala kang sinasakyan, paralyzed ang buong traffic (There is a traffic crisis, not transportation crisis. When you say transportation crisis, there would be no transportation available, the whole traffic would be paralyzed),” he said during a press briefing.

The Palace official added that everyone is experiencing heavy traffic whether you commute or not. He also said that Filipinos can adapt to difficult situations.

“Tayong mga Pilipino (We Filipinos), we’re very creative. May problema tayo, hindi tayo nagngangangawa na pababayaan natin na lamunin tayo ng problema (we have problems but we do not whine and let our problems overpower us),” according to Panelo.

Panelo also mentioned there is a need for improvement in the infrastructure of the country.

“Tama iyong iniisip ni presidente, ang problema kasi sa atin, iyong infrastructure natin, we’re 20 years behind. So that’s why iyong kaniyang Build Build Build, iyon ang solution doon (The president was right, the problem is our infrastructure, we’re 20 years behind. So that’s why the Build Build Build [program] is the solution),” he said.

Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. said the commute challenge aims to call attention to the situation of transportation.

“Ang punto magkaroon ng empathy, malasakit at kilalanin na malala ang problema (The point is to have empathy and acknowledge the worsening problem). It is a mass transport crisis,” Reyes said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz and Grace Casin)

Panelo on commuting to work: It’s nothing new

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 11, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo takes a selfie inside a jeepney as he commutes to work to refute allegations of traffic crisis in Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said nothing has changed during his commute to work in Malacañang on Friday (October 11).

In an ambush interview, Panelo said he did not feel any challenge during his commute from his home in Marikina. He left at 5:15 a.m. and was spotted in Cubao at around 8:00 a.m.

Pareho ng dati, wala namang pinagbago, (It’s the same as before, nothing has changed)” he said.

“Laking kalye ako, pinagkalakihan ko ang jeep, ang bus, tricycle (I grew up in the streets. I grew up riding jeepney, buses, and tricycle) so there’s nothing new,” Panelo added.

The Presidential Spokesperson rode four jeepneys and hitched a motorcycle ride. He arrived at Malacañang at 8:45 a.m., almost four hours of travel time.

According to Panelo, he accepted the challenge to show that people in the government can still do what the public can do.

Kaya ko lang tinanggap iyong hamon nila, kasi sila parang pinapakita nila na kaming nasa pwesto ngayon hindi namin pwedeng gawin ang ginagawa ng ordinaryong tao, galing nga kami doon (I accepted the challenge because they look at people in the government cannot do what ordinary people do, but we have been there),” he said.

He again maintained there is no transport crisis in Metro Manila.

Kung may problema, may solusyon (If there’s a problem, there is a solution). Otherwise, that’s not a problem,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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