Trudeau to Filipinos: Judge me beyond my looks

Trudeau to Filipinos: Judge me beyond my looks
Canada's Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
PHOTO: Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday departs from the Philippines after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit 2015 held in Manila.

He arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. Before boarding the Canadian government plane at 8:45 a.m., Trudeau said: "Thank you, Mabuhay!" His plane flew past 9 a.m.

He was given a send-off by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Dubbed as an "APEC Hottie" on social media, Trudeau's attendance for the Apec Summit was hounded with the issue on the thrash which a Canadian company dumped into the Philippines, supposedly as recyclable scrap plastic materials, but which turned out were spoiled adult diapers and household trash.

Some 55 containers of trash were intercepted in 2013 because these were misdeclared as scrap plastic, in violation of the Tariff Code.

In the same press conference, Trudeau vowed to close the loopholes in the law that allowed the importation of Canadian dump into Philippine soil. However, he remained vague whether or not he would take the dump back.

"I have obviously been made aware of the situation and I've also been told that there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed. But, at the same time, I know that this has exposed a problem that needs fixing within our own legislation that we're going to lean into and make sure happens," Trudeau said.

"Well, I think, going forward, we need to ensure that if a situation like this were to arise once again that the Canadian government has more power to actually demand action from the companies responsible. I believe there are loopholes here that were allowed to be skirted that we need to make sure we close [these], both for Canada's interest and for our good relationships with our neighbours," he added. Instead of shipping these back to Canada, the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has decided to just bury the trash in Capas, Tarlac at the Philippines' expense.

The Ontario-based Chronic Inc. shipped the containers to Manila through its Valenzuela-based consignee, Chronic Plastics. The BOC filed criminal charges against Chronic Plastics for violating the Revised Penal Code, the Tariff and Customs Code and the 1990 Toxic Waste Act.

It also called on Canada to take back the shipment under a 1995 convention on hazardous waste, which provides that "the exporting country must take back the waste materials if the receiving country refuses to accept them.

Trudeau made a surprise press conference at the Apec International Media Center at the World Trade Center Thursday night, causing a frenzied crowd composed of both men and women gushing over the social media heartthrob.

He arrived for the briefing amid screams from women swooning over the 43-year-old former teacher who was installed as prime minister after his Liberal Party won a majority of Parliament's 338 seats.

Trudeau in the briefing vowed to plug the loopholes in the law that allowed the importation of the Canada's garbage into the Philippine soil, an issue that hounded his otherwise social media famous appearance for the Apec summit.

After the press conference, Trudeau was again mobbed by screaming women who shook his hands and took pictures.

Flanked by his security aides, Trudeau said his gratitude and shook hands from the screaming crowd. He was carried off to a waiting vehicle.

A frenzied Apec volunteer told INQUIRER.net that she was lucky enough to hold Trudeau's arms.

"Oh my God, kinawayan niya lang kasi kami, nag-hi siya. Tapos hinila ng mga kasama ko kamay niya. Syempre naki-hila na rin ako at nahawakan ko ng bongga hanggang dito," said Jeliza Malapitan, a media volunteer, beckoning to her arm.

(Oh my God, he waved at us, he said hi. My companions pulled him over, so I pulled him over, too. And then I was able to hold his arms.)

"Ang saya lang. Ang gwapo niya! (I'm so happy. He's so handsome!)" she added while giggling. Another young man who was also a volunteer was interviewed by reporters. He exclaimed: "Nabakla ako ng kaunti! (I got gay for a while there!)"

In the press conference, Trudeau pleaded to his admirers to focus on his "substance" instead of his good looks.

He went on to share a lesson he learned from his father-the late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau-to set aside "positive impressions that weren't grounded in reality" and instead focus on "substance."

"What I also had to learn is that there were a lot of people who liked my father and liked me for reasons entirely unrelated to who I actually was, and I had to learn to set aside positive impressions that weren't grounded in reality," Trudeau said.

"So, throughout my life, I have focused on what I have to do and the substance of what I put forward, and that has left me both grounded and able to focus regardless of perceptions or attentions to things external," he added.

 

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