Canadian embassy denies trash-for-nurses deal


THE Canadian embassy on Tuesday denied reports its government had a deal with former President Benigno Aquino 3rd that Manila would keep the garbage shipped to the Philippines a few years ago in exchange for Canada’s hiring of Filipino nurses.

Ryan Webb, a political officer at the Canadian Embassy in Manila, reiterated there was no such deal between the two governments.

Webb was reacting to reports that the previous administration connived with the Canadian government to keep the garbage in the Philippines in exchange for the hiring of 500 Filipino nurses.

“From our perspective that has no basis in reality. We already admit thousands of nurses to Canada. Filipino nurses are highly sought after,” Webb told The Manila Times in an interview.

A total of 103 container vans of garbage mislabeled as “recyclable materials” were shipped to Manila in 2013 by Chronic Inc., a private company in Ontario.

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) discovered that the shipment contained mixed wastes such as bottles, adult diapers, waste paper, kitchen refuse and other household trash.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during his visit in Manila to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, assured the Philippine government that Canada would continue to work on legal ways to take back the tons of trash.

Webb said Canada is more than willing to work with Philippine authorities to facilitate the return of the garbage.

He added that the Canadian government was willing to pay a Canadian firm to have the garbage incinerated but that did not push through.

“It was blocked by the Philippine courts. Of course, we want to follow Philippine (laws) and now I think it’s up to the Philippine courts to make a decision, and decide who is the responsible parties,” he said.


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