PH recalls envoys to Canada over missed trash shipment deadline

Robie de Guzman   •   May 16, 2019   •   1944

Tons of garbage from Canada were illegally exported to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered the recall of Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada after the Canadian government failed to meet the May 15 deadline on shipping back tons of garbage it sent to the Philippines several years ago.

In a post on his Twitter account on Thursday, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the recall order has been issued and the Philippine envoys to Canada are expected to be back in the country in a day or so.

“At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out. They are expected here in a day or so. Canada missed the May 15 deadline,” he said.

Locsin said the reason for the recall is to “maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

The DFA secretary said the move was triggered by Canada’s failure to show up at a meeting with the Bureau of Customs, as relayed to him by the Department of Finance (DOF).

“That the government may consider a 2 to 3 week delay DOES NOT EXTEND THE DEADLINE. Our diplomatic presence in Canada shall be de minimis,” he said.

“At the Japanese enthronement ceremony, DOF informed me that Canada did not show up at a meeting with Customs and that was the trigger,” he added.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there might be a slight delay in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to the processing of documents but he made no mention of any plans to recall envoys when he gave updates about the exported trash.

“According to the DFA, there might be a slight delay because of processing, documents are being prepared so it might take a little longer. The important thing is, they are taking it,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing.

He had then surmised that the shipment of the trash might begin in “one to two weeks.”

The Canadian government earlier agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013 following a stern warning issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

READ: Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

The President had warned he would declare “war” against Canada if it failed to move its illegally exported trash. He was referring to 103 containers of Canadian mixed wastes that arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014.

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

Ottawa earlier assured Manila it is working on resolving the issue “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.” (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano: Amid challenges, PH all set for SEA Games

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Amid challenges, House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Cayetano said the country is all set for the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) which will be held from November 30 to December 11.

“Overall, we are hundred percent ready. Now ang challenges natin ang day to day (Now, the challenges will be the day-to-day [activities]),” he said during a press conference on Wednesday (October 16) at New Clark City in Tarlac.

Cayetano along with other lawmakers, including Senator Bong Go and HOR’s Committee on Youth and Sports, conducted an inspection of the facility.

However, Cayetano admitted they will still encounter problems because of the budget cut from P7.5 billion to P5 billion this year.

The House Speaker said they can still make ends meet through volunteers and sponsors.

“Pinupunuan ng volunteers iyong pagkukulang natin sa mga paid workers (Volunteers are filling in for our shortcomings to the paid workers),” Cayetano said.

The SEA Games will feature 56 sports or around 500 events. Sixty percent of these events will be held at the New Clark City.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Duterte names former House Speaker Belmonte special envoy to Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte in an undated photo that was released on May 10, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte as Special Envoy to Japan.

Based on a document from Malacañang released on Wednesday, Belmonte was appointed as special envoy to Japan for trade and market access.

Belmonte was appointed by Duterte on Oct. 15, Tuesday.

He served as Representative of the 4th District of Quezon City for three terms, and was elected as House speaker of the 15th and 16th Congress during the time of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, respectively.

Belmonte was Liberal Party’s former vice chairman before he resigned in September last year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Indonesian Navy warships arrive in PH for goodwill visit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Two Indonesian vessels arrived at Alava Pier in Olongapo City on Tuesday (October 15) for a goodwill visit to the Philippines.

The ships, Bung Tomo-class corvette KRI John Lie (358) and SIGMA-class corvette KRI Frans Kaisiepo (368) will remain in the country until October 18.

The visit aims to establish diplomatic relations and promote Indonesian culture and tourism.

“The visiting navy personnel will engage their Filipino counterparts during confidence-building activities such as shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions, and friendly games,” according to the Philippine Navy.

It is the second goodwill visit of Indonesian Navy to the country this year following the arrival of their training ship KRI Bima Suci last August.—AAC

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