Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Philippines Formally Scraps Helicopter Deal with Canada

Philippines Formally Scraps Helicopter Deal with Canada

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has replaced the chair of the Crown corporation that facilitated the controversial sale of 16 military helicopters with the Philippines.

The Philippines on Tuesday formally cancelled a US $233-million deal to purchase helicopters from Canada after Ottawa expressed concerns that these could be used in counter-insurgency operations.

"I would assure the Canadian people - we are friends, we do not hate you, we love Canadians because there are a lot of Filipinos there", Duterte said during a business forum in Davao City.

In connection with the cancellation of the contract with Bell Helicopter, Duterte has ordered the DND to look for other sources of helicopters and military equipment outside of Canada and the United States.

Duterte said he opposes any condition that would restrict the use of helicopters in combating terrorists and communist rebels in the country.

"It's intended use as combat utility helicopter is for the transport of troops especially combat casualties and for troop sustainment".

"This is just a repeat order".

The Philippines is shopping around for new sources of helicopters after the Philippine president ordered a cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.

"Now, I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever weapons of war, we will really use those against them", he added.

Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the deputy chief of staff for planning for the Philippine Armed Forces, told BenarNews earlier that the helicopters would not be used in the government's anti-insurgency campaign in troubled areas of the country such as Mindanao in the south, but would be tapped primarily for humanitarian missions.

"We are looking at (South) Korea, Russia, China and Turkey and other countries for the medium-lift helicopters in lieu of the Bell 412", Lorenzana said. The report continued that the defense minister said the Philippines, since it was buying the helicopters, should not have to justify their use.

Trudeau said Canada was committed to ensure any military equipment sold is "used for the right things and not the wrong things".

Lorenzana echoed Padilla, saying that while the helicopters were attack helicopters, they were medium-lift aircraft.

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