The threat to ‘fight Canada’ within the next week was made by Duterte as he demanded the illegally shipped rubbish be taken back.
Duterte also threatened to sail the mountains of trash back to Canada as the long-running dispute over the waste exported to the Southeast Asia nation boiled over.
The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste, in the latest incident to strain bilateral ties.
But Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to ‘declare war’ on Canada if tonnes of garbage shipped to the Philippines was not taken back
Authorities in the Philippines have complained tonnes of garbage shipped from Canada labelled as recycling was actually toxic waste
Speaking to officials during a visit north of Manila, an area ravaged by an earthquake on Monday, Duterte said he did not care if his stance on the issue turned the two countries into enemies.
He said: ‘I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out, or I will set sail for Canada and dump their garbage back there.
‘Let’s fight Canada. I will declare war against them. I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to.’
More than 100 of the containers were shipped to Manila by a Canadian company in and improperly labelled as plastics for recycling.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government said it had no authority to force a private company to return the shipment to Canada
Customs inspectors discovered the shipments actually contained garbage, including soiled adult diapers and kitchen trash, according to Philippines news website Rappler.
The piles of recycling is among several festering issues that have soured ties between the two governments.
In 2016, a court in the Philippines ordered the waste to be shipped back to Canada at the expense of the importer.
Duterte also told officials: ‘For Canada’s garbage, I want a boat prepared. They better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and dump their garbage there.’
In a statement today, Canada’s embassy in Manila said officials from both countries were working on issues related to removing the waste ‘with a view to a timely resolution’ and ‘to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way’.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, pictured in 2018, has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the domestic drug war waged by Duterte, who was elected in 2016.
Philippine police say they have killed nearly 5,000 alleged drug users and pushers who fought against arrest in the crackdown, while rights groups say the true toll is at least triple that and may amount to crimes against humanity.
Last year Duterte angrily cancelled the Philippine military’s $235 million contract to buy 16 military helicopters from a Canada-based manufacturer after the Trudeau government put the deal under review because of the president’s human rights record.
In 2017 at the end of a summit of Asian and Western nations in Manila, Duterte berated Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for raising questions about his war on drugs.