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Political will makes mark



It is fitting that the Canadian garbage controversy ended as President Rodrigo Duterte started the final half of his term as a tribute to his iron will that had moved the country forward.

It was also a testament to his commitment to ensuring both the integrity of the country’s sovereignty and its ecological safety.

The President has been at the forefront of promoting and protecting the country’s environment with his strong policy against destructive mining.

His unbending determination to ecological preservation triggered his decision to temporary close what he called the cesspool that was Boracay to pave the way for its rehabilitation and his order to clean up Manila Bay.

The Duterte brand in protecting the interest of the country was the basis of the President’s demand that Canada take back the trash that has been rotting on the country’s port for almost six years as little attention was given to the issue in the previous dispensation.

Mr. Duterte shocked Canada into action after he threatened to declare war if the trash is not retrieved before a deadline he set which was 30 June.

The huge vessel that recovered the trash arrived in Canada yesterday, the deadline, that prevented further fireworks from the President.

In the G20 meeting held in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Duterte set a trend in the pushback of poor countries against wealthy nations.

“The global trash trade has reached a turning point; wealthier nations have long shipped their plastic waste to the developing world to be processed, but in recent months, some nations in Southeast Asia have begun sending the exports — much of it contaminated plastic and trash that is unrecyclable — back to where it came from,” a statement during the high-profile meeting of global powers stated.

They export the trash in the Philippines because it’s more expensive for them to process the mixed, contaminated waste themselves back home due to the tighter laws, according to a delegate in the yearly forum.

Aside from the Canadian trash, the government also sent back 51 containers of mixed waste to South Korea, including plastic and other materials that were misdeclared, six months after it arrived in a southern port. Officials in Seoul said the country would take back the trash and shoulder the shipment costs.

In April, Malaysia became the second country to push back when it returned five containers to Spain.

The Duterte pushback also resulted in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to ban accepting trash exports.

The global movement against excesses from world powers started from the President’s resolute pursuit of a Filipino nation that bend its knees to no one.