MANILA – Trade secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday said the Philippines is unlikely to sever ties with Canada over the tons of household trash it illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago.
Speaking to reporters in Malacañang, Lopez said both countries have been working towards a resolution of the garbage issue.
“Sa tingin ko hindi naman hahantong dun [sever ties], napakatagal na nung relationship natin para umabot sa ganun or maapektuhan yung long term relationship with Canada,” he said when asked to comment on the possible effect on trade should the Philippines end diplomatic relations.
“Pero pag if, in the remote possibility, hypothetically mangyari yun, I’m sure magkakaroon na ng impact yun, pagdating sa time na yun. Lalong lalo na kung mawalan din ng confidence yung mga Canadian companies.”
Lopez said Canada is among the top 20 trading partners of the Philippines, which established ties with Canada in 1949.
The Cabinet official added the long-simmering conflict over garbage would not affect the current trade relations between the two countries.
“They [Canadian companies] will simply continue, they see the opportunities in the Philippines, so magtutuloy tuloy lang yun. Di po makakaapekto yun dahil hindi naman, hindi naman yung mga kompanya ang kalaban din natin dun. I think that’s a separate issue talaga,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said earlier in the day that it recalled the Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada following Ottawa’s failure to meet President Rodrigo Duterte’s May 15 deadline to remove the trash.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recall was a warning that Manila is ready to cut ties with Ottawa over the issue. (GMA News)