Duterte terminates Canada chopper deal

Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told the Armed Forces to discontinue a helicopter deal with Canada, a day after the Canadian government ordered a review of the purchase.

Roque asserted that the government has always been clear on why it is purchasing Bell helicopters.

Bell Helicopter said the Philippine military would use the aircraft "for a variety of missions such as disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport".

Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque had said the helicopters will be used for humanitarian operations, although he kept silent on other uses for the new military hardware.

Internal security operations refer to counterinsurgency operations.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tried to reassure officials that the helicopters wouldn't be used to attack rebels.

The Filipino politician made the statement after Canada ordered a review of the multi-billion dollar deal.

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But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also raised concerns about extrajudicial killings while visiting the country in November, specifically those related to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent crackdown on illegal drugs. I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal. and somehow we will look for another supplier.

"We are going to make sure before this deal or any other deal goes through that we are abiding by the rules ... that Canadian governments have to follow", he said.

Canda's Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said that the deal - formally signed on Tuesday - had been struck in 2012 on the understanding the helicopters would be used for search-and-rescue missions. "We are neutral", Duterte said, without making clear if he was referring to Canada or the USA, his country's treaty ally, or both.

Opposition parties and human-rights groups have called for the cancellation of the sale of light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia over concerns they would be misused.

The Canadian leader was praised by human rights groups for raising the concerns, but Duterte said he was insulted and angered by the remarks.

"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".

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