Palace: We can look elsewhere for military choppers
Palace: We can look elsewhere for military choppers
11 February, 2018, 05:35
The Philippine president on Friday ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada and said purchases of USA arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he said he still supports President Donald Trump.
The statement by Major General Restituto Padilla, AFP deputy chief for plans, was made following Canada's announcement it would review the P12 billion ($233.36 million) contract for the helicopters over concerns the aircraft would be used in combat.
He said while he respects Canada's stand, he no longer wants to purchase military equipment from Canada or the United States because "there is always a condition attached".
He also directed the military not to buy arms anymore "from Canada or from the USA because there is always a condition attached".
But a senior officer in the Philippines military, which has been accused of committing human-rights abuses in its war with local terrorists and rebels, admitted they would be used for internal security operations. However, the defense minister later clarified that the Bell 412EPI helicopters were mainly for transport, rescue and disaster response.
He said if he can not use the equipment against locals "contaminated" by ISIS, he might as well "surrender the government" to them.
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"I hope that we will never be called upon to use arms in their defense or for them".
The Canadian government had chose to undertake a review of the agreement to sell 16 helicopters to the Philippines after speculations were raised that these would be used for counter-insurgency assaults. "We can not use it for anti-insurgency because if it is used against the Filipino rebels, they will not sell it", he said.
"If they don't want to sell, we may consider the prospect of procuring them from other sources", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said on Thursday. He is a good president. 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 country is also regularly battered by typhoons.
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.
Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that is said to have left almost 4,000 drug suspects dead, described Trudeau's comments as "a personal and official insult".
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