Philippines president orders cancelation of $233mn helicopter deal with Canada
10 February, 2018, 08:50 | Author: Edward Snyder
The Philippine defence department signed the 12- billion-peso (US$234.8 million) Bell 412EPI deal with the state-run Canadian Commercial Corp, with deliveries set to start in nine months, ministry spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP.
The helicopters, Bell said, were to be used for missions including disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport.
However Manila said they would also be used for "anti-terrorism" operations, including to evacuate soldiers wounded fighting insurgents. "Somehow we will look for another supplier", the President said during a press conference in Davao City.
Philippine troops are battling militants in the Muslim south and communist guerrillas in other parts of the mainly Catholic Asian nation.
Duterte said Friday he wants to cancel a deal to buy helicopters from Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government chose to undertake a review of the 12 billion peso ($235 million) deal, which was announced this week, due to concerns the Philippine military may use the helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults, according to news reports.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Canada is the 15th largest weapon exporter in the world, report said.
"The fact that Canadian equipment is making its way to the Philippine military raises serious questions about the effectiveness of Canada's exports controls-and about potential Canadian complicity, however unintended, in instances of human rights violation".
The two governments announced the deal less than three months after Duterte and Trudeau clashed.
"I have the authority to deny a permit if I feel that it poses a risk to human rights, and I am prepared to do so", Freeland added.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the latter's drug-war comments.
Almost 4,000 mostly poor drug suspects have been killed in clashes with police, according to police officials, who say the suspects resisted violently.
Human rights groups have raised concerns over the proposed sale to the Philippines.
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