Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte recalled the country's ambassador Canada after the latter country failed to comply with the May 15 deadline to re-export the trash dumped in Manila, but stopped short of cutting diplomatic ties.

The Philippines Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. tweeted on Thursday,  "At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out. They are expected here in a day or so. Canada missed the May 15 deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there," he said.

The issue escalated after Canada failed to meet the deadline to reclaim the garbage a Canadian company shipped to the Manila port in 2013 and 2014. Philippines had set May 15 as the deadline to ship back the garbage.

Canada's representatives failed to show up at the meeting arranged with Philippines customs last Tuesday and Locsin said “ that was the trigger" for recalling the envoys.

The garbage issue has damaged relations between Philippines and Canada for the past five years. More than 100 containers filled with non-recyclable plastic, household waste and diapers arrived in Manila in 2013. The Philippines government requested the Canadian authorities to take back the waste last month. Canada agreed to act on the matter and pay for the re-export of the waste but asked for an extension of time.

ocean garbage Fishermen prepare to fish, amidst floating garbage off the shore of Manila Bay during World Oceans Day in Paranaque, Metro Manila June 8, 2013. Photo: reuters/Erik De Castro

Philippines president's spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier warned that Canada's disposal of its garbage is "dangerously disruptive" of Philippines-Canada ties. He said, "The more they delay, the more personnel will be coming back." Panelo added that "the refusal to bring the garbage back to their shores is disruptive of our diplomatic relations," reported CNN. Panelo also assured that the recall of diplomats does not mean Philippines cutting ties with Canada.

Canadian Embassy in Philippines said last month that they are working together with the Philippines government to resolve the garbage issue. In a statement released last month, the Canadian embassy said, “Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Government of the Philippines to resolve this issue and is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada."

However, in the statement released by Global Affairs Canada, which manages the country’s diplomatic relations, said, “ Canada is disappointed by this decision to recall the Philippines ambassador and consuls general.” The statement also said Canada is working towards solving the issue, reported The Manila Times.