NEWS FROM MANILA Canadian Garbage Traded for Filipino Nurses?

By | December 3, 2017

~ A respected journalist in Manila alleges that the garbage issue Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was confronted with during the ASEAN summit in the Philippine capital a week ago had something odd in it. An Ontario-based company had shipped 106 container vans of hazardous waste to Manila in 2013-2014 under the pretext that it’s recyclable plastics. Some had been used as landfill in Tarlac province but the bulk is rotting in ports reportedly in Subic and Manila. For that trash, Filipino nurses were accepted in Canada, journalist Jojo Robles says.

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TORONTO – The Canadian government has reportedly agreed to take in 500 Filipino nurses in exchange for not returning to Canada the tons of garbage shipped to Manila in 2013 and 2014.

 

The revelation, published on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 in the Manila Standard, was reported by columnist and radio host Jojo Robles, who called it “A stinking deal”, quoting unnamed sources in the Philippine Congress. (Full story at: http://thestandard.com.ph/opinion/columns/lowdown-by-jojo-robles/251885/a-stinking-deal.html).

 

The garbage consisting of 106 container vans shipped by Chronic Inc., a plastics exporter based in Whitby, Ontario was reportedly consigned to a Filipino company, Chronic Plastics based in Valenzuela, Metro Manila.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who assumed office in November 2015, was confronted with the issue while in Manila during the recently-concluded ASEAN Summit, and said there that the garbage “is now theoretically possible to get (it) back”. (Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbBj_7HJk3w).

 

“Canada,” he stated, “is open to working with the Philippine government to resolve this question”. 

 

He said the problem had its roots in private businesses. He also explained that regulations and legal impediments have now been addressed, which would enable Canada to take the garbage back.

 

The alleged “swap” was the result of “quiet” negotiations between leaders of Canada and the Philippines after two lawmakers – then Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and then Representative Neri Colmenares – initiated a congressional inquiry into the alleged dumping of hazardous medical waste, according to columnist Robles.

 

Their investigation was apparently thwarted by an order from the presidential Malacanang Palace, which was occupied then by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. 

 

Robles wrote. ” . . . the leaders of both Houses at the time – Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. – came down hard on the lawmakers in their respective chambers and ordered them to ‘kill’ the probes”.

 

Drilon and Belmonte informed their colleagues then that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was taking over the “sensitive” case, which would require quiet negotiations between the leaders of Canada and the Philippines without the noise congressional inquiries would create, the Filipino journalist said.

 

“The result of the negotiations,” Robles said quoting his sources, “was a strange (and probably illegal) ‘swap’: 500 Filipino nurses would be admitted to Canada, which would no longer be forced to bring back the 106 container vans containing the garbage to their shores”.

 

As it is the weekend here, Filipino and Canadian authorities in Toronto were not immediately available for comment