Palace supports recall of PH diplomats from Canada over garbage issue

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DAVAO CITY (May16) — Malacañang on Thursday, May 16, expressed support to the order of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. to recall Philippine diplomats from Canada following the latter’s failure to remove shipping containers with household garbage dumped in the Philippine soil.

“That order of the recall is to persuade them to make it fast. The more they delay, the more personal we’ll be coming back. I issued a statement that the refusal to bring the garbage back to their shores is disruptive of our diplomatic relations,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo told Palace reporters in a press briefing.

“That recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage. Otherwise, we are going to sever our relations with them,” Secretary Panelo added. 

For the Palace, this recall resulted from the lack of urgency shown by the government of Canada on the country’s request to remove the garbage they dumped. 

In their defense, the Canadian government told the Philippines that they are doing their best to bring back the trash. This statement, however, did not bode well with the President’s chief legal counsel. 

“Ang sinasabi ng Canadian authorities they are doing their best to bring back the garbage to them, but I can’t even understand because kayang kayang gawin yan, if I were the Prime Minister kadali-dali naman niyan [ipabalik doon sa Canada],” Panelo said. 

Secretary Panelo likewise said that while President Rodrigo Roa Duterte does not interfere with how department heads do their work, it is no less than the Chief Executive who remains resolute to have the garbage brought back to its sender. 

“The President does not interfere with his department heads because they are his alter ego, they know what the President’s program is with respect to relations with other countries. Kaya ‘pag sinabi ng department head ‘yan, ‘yang ang posisyon ng Presidente,” Sec. Panelo pointed out. 

“Basta ang posisyon ng Presidente, tanggalin niyo na ‘yan. Otherwise, tapos na ang relasyon natin. Ganoon kasersyoso si Presidente,” he said. 

The President’s spokesperson, meanwhile, assured that the issue won’t affect the lives of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Canada. 

“Hindi naman siguro. I don’t think magkakaroon ng problema doon kasi ‘yung mga nandoon ay mga ligal at kailangan din nila [Canada] ng mga overseas workers natin,” Sec. Panelo said. 

“Whatever the consequence, this government will be protective of the interests of our countrymen in any part of the world,” Panelo stressed.

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