MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was serious when he threatened to declare war against Canada over the garbage illegally dumped in the Philippines, although his spokesman earlier said it was a "figure of speech."
Duterte made the statement almost a week after Manila sent back 69 containers of waste to Vancouver.
"It’s a matter of respect. Gawain mo lang ako basurahan dito, p*****-***. At akala nila nagbibiro ako. Sabi ko sa kanila isauli ko yan pag hindi tayo nagkaintindihan I will declare war. Akala naman siguro nitong, of course sa media, hambog ba, hubris. Hindi ba nila ako kilala?" he said in a speech during the Eid’l Fitr celebration in Davao City.
Duterte reiterated that he would have dumped the waste at Canada's shore if it did not retrieve the garbage.
"Whether you like it or not, you have to accept your garbage because I’m going to send it to you and I will just discharge it in your water, Arestuhin ninyo sundalo ko? Giyera tayo. Yan ang ibig kong sabihin, hindi nila nakuha," he said.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, earlier said Duterte's pronouncement was just an "expression of outrage."
"I don't think any country would want to trigger another world war kasi all of us will get annihilated, nuclear eh," he said.
A total of 103 containers of Canadian waste, consisting of household trash, plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers, arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014.
Trash from at least 26 containers have already been buried in a Tarlac landfill.
Canada said the waste was a private commercial transaction done without the government's consent.
The Philippines had recalled its representatives to Canada and banned officials from traveling there after it missed a deadline to retrieve the garbage.
Following the return of the garbage, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said diplomats have been told to return to Canada.