Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

PH gov't to seek other sellers if Canada refuses chopper deal

PH gov't to seek other sellers if Canada refuses chopper deal

The government in Ottawa earlier expressed concerns the helicopters could be used to fight rebels.

Duterte said that he can not guarantee that the helicopters will not be used in combat operations in the future.

The Canadian officials have stated they are confident that the helicopters will be used for disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport. "From the very onset, the contract has specified that we are acquiring a combat utility helicopter", he said. The allegations relate to extrajudicial executions committed during the president's war on drugs, which has killed thousands.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation, which helps broker foreign military deals on behalf of the federal government, facilitated the agreement. Freeland's office also circulated a photo of a similar helicopter painted red, blue and white.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during a talk at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, said that the Canadian government is "in the process of looking" into the deal.

But those claims were undercut by Philippines Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, who told journalists in Manila the aircraft "will be used for the military's internal security operations". It says it would use the Canadian helicopters to transport and supply troops and ferry wounded soldiers out danger.

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Known for his impromptu decisions and public outbursts, the Philippine president declared in a nationally televised news conference that he wants the helicopter deal, and purchases of unspecified US weapons, halted.

"These are multi-purpose aircraft for anti-terrorism as well as HADR", he said, using military lingo that refers to disaster response and humanitarian missions.

An Amnesty International report accused Islamist insurgents of executing civilians and the military of killing non-combatants during air strikes.

The President said he respects Canada's position and stressed that the Philippines would just scout for another supplier.

"We respect their values". The Associated Press reported the defense secretary did say the country was not afraid to look elsewhere for sellers, should the deal with Canada fall through.

The deal represents another win for the Canadian defence industry when it comes to the Southeast Asian nation; Canada also sold eight Bell helicopters made in Montreal to the Philippines armed forces in 2015.

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