Ban Toxics: Canada is taking advantage of our poverty, weak government

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AN environmental group slammed President Benigno Aquino III for ending his Canadian’s visit without bringing up the illegally dumped garbage now rotting in the Philippines.

Aquino met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper but, according to Ban Toxics, “conveniently forgot to mention the illegal Canadian waste issue because of trade talks.”

While the two leaders discussed bilateral initiatives in the areas of commerce, development and security, and launched exploratory discussions on economic partnerships and free-trade agreement,  they failed to address the illegal Canadian waste that arrived in the Philippines in 2013.

“The Canadian government has demanded its pound of flesh from the Filipinos,” said Ban Toxics executive director Atty. Richard Gutierrez. “It is a very sad day for the Philippines as our own President failed to stand up for our rights and our dignity as a nation in exchange for empty economic titles and promises.”

Canada, Gutierrez said, is making the Philippines a destination of rubbish in exchange of dole outs.

“Harper is taking advantage of our country’s poverty and weak government that he continues to dole out his so-called economic assistance in exchange for making poor countries like the Philippines a dumpsite,” said Gutierrez.

Ban Toxics maintained that the dumping of the garbage in the Philippines is a violation of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, a United Nations treaty to which both Canada and the Philippines are parties to.

Gutierrez said Canada is required to take back illegally shipped wastes under the Basel Convention.

The dumping of the Canadian wastes also violated the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 28 (Interim Guidelines for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances) and Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The Philippine government, according to Ban Toxics, is spending at least P144,000 a day for the loss of income for storage space and the additional expenses for demurrage, which, to date, costs around Php 90 million.

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