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

10 February, 2018, 08:49 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines

The Philippine government can consider other sellers of military helicopters, if the Canadian government refuses to push through with the deal, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

Filipino officials have said the country would buy the aircraft from another source if Canada did not follow through on the deal.

"They must not politicise the acquisition", said Major-General Restituto Padilla, the deputy chief of staff for plans and programmes of the Philippine armed forces.

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

The Canadian government is not OK with the helicopters being used for those "internal security operations", however.

Those include extrajudicial killings, the destruction of homes, unlawful arrests and other alleged violations.

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International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is ordering a review of the planned sale of 16 412EPI helicopters to the Philippine military amid concerns about the country's human rights record. "We respect the stand of Canada", he said during a media briefing Friday morning. Huwag na ituloy and somehow we will look for another supplier.

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.

While Duterte says he respects Canada's position, he also opposes any condition that would restrict using the helicopters in fighting terrorists and communist rebels inside his country.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, talks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13.

"The prime minister and I have been very clear about the Duterte regime's human rights abuses and the extrajudicial killings", she told parliament.

The helicopter deal with the Philippines, he said, represents yet another example. "And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision", Champagne told reporters according to another Reuters report.

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