Philippine president orders military to scrap helicopter deal with Canada

Minister of International Trade Francois Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday that he had ordered a review of the helicopter deal after a senior member of the Philippine military said the aircraft would also be used in “internal security operations

Minister of International Trade Francois Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday that he had ordered a review of the helicopter deal after a senior member of the Philippine military said the aircraft would also be used in “internal security operations

But International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday he had ordered a review of the deal, which was finalized in December, after a senior member of the Philippines military said the aircraft would also be used in "internal security operations".

President Rodrigo Duterte's order, issued in a news conference, came after the Canadian government made a decision to review the 12 billion peso ($235 million) helicopter deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults.

"When we saw that declaration ... we immediately launched a review with the relevant authorities".

"They are not attack or close support aircraft", he said.

"If you can not use it against the terrorist or Filipino citizen, then prepare for the eventual collapse of this country", the President said. "We respect the stand of Canada", Duterte said.

Trump visited the Philippine capital, Manila, in November to meet Duterte and attend an annual summit with Asian and Western leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation, which helps broker foreign military deals on behalf of the federal government, facilitated the agreement.

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He admitted that the government was buying helicopters precisely to advance the government's operations against local insurgents. The helicopters were used to co-ordinate airstrikes and other combat missions. It is not an offensive platform and not armed as such.

Since the Philippines lies within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Padilla said the nation's disaster response plan had tasked the AFP with taking the lead in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, "hence, the CUH will be employed for numerous lifesaving tasks as well". We are confident that they are fully aware of the utilization of the CUH.

The Bell helicopters were to be delivered in 2019 and 2020.

The helicopter deal with the Philippines, he said, represents yet another example.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army will be recruiting an additional 8,000 troopers this year, 4,400 more than the regular annual 3,600 quota to replace slain, dismissed and retired personnel. The country is also regularly battered by typhoons.

Duterte said past investigations failed to turn up evidence that he ordered extrajudicial killings of specific people, although he acknowledged he has threatened to kill those who destroy his country's youth.

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