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Duterte orders halt to purchases of Canada choppers, USA weapons
10 February 2018, 02:55 | Bernice Figueroa
Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines
The Philippine president on Friday ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada and said purchases of US arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he said he still supports President Donald Trump.
"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.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asserted that the Bell helicopters would be used to transport personnel and relief supplies during calamities as well as ferry wounded soldiers.
Duterte said that he can not guarantee that the helicopters will not be used in combat operations in the future. You will never get it for as long as I am president.
His remark came after the Canadian government ordered Wednesday, February 7, to review the helicopter deal amid concerns that the aircraft could be used against local insurgents. "We are neutral", Duterte said, without making clear if he was referring to Canada or the USA, his country's treaty ally, or both.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday that an "extremely rigorous human rights review" would be undertaken before any export permit was issued over the helicopter contract.
Duterte calls Trudeau’s criticism of extra-judicial killings a ‘personal and official insult
"It angers me when you are a foreigner, you do not know what exactly is happening in this country".
The two governments announced the deal less than three months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clashed with host President Rodrigo Duterte over Philippine drug war killings, on the sidelines of a Manila summit. He is doing it also for his country.
But Trudeau's comment was not well accepted by Duterte.
During Trudeau's official visit in the Philippines past year for the 31st Association of South East Nations, he said that he "impressed upon" Duterte the need to respect the rule of law to combat illegal drugs.
Human-rights and arms-control groups have accused the Philippine armed forces of extrajudicial killings and other atrocities in their fight against Islamic militants and communist rebels.
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