Duterte terminates Canada chopper deal

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian officials have stated they are confident that the helicopters will be used for disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport.

Duterte said on Friday he respected Canada's stand but added it was unavoidable that the Philippine air force would used the choppers "against the rebels and terrorists".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked later whether he was concerned the helicopters might be used against Filipino citizens, replied "Absolutely".

Roque was responding to the announcement of the Canadian government to review the deal amounting to $233.36 million or about P12 billion.

The Bell Helicopter said the 16 Bell 412EPI helicopters, fully configured and equipped with advanced features, are being acquired as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization plans, and were purchased by the Philippine defense department through a government-to-government contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

The deal represents another win for the Canadian defence industry when it comes to the Southeast Asian nation; Canada also sold eight Bell helicopters made in Montreal to the Philippines armed forces in 2015. "We are neutral", Duterte said, without making clear if he was referring to Canada or the USA, his country's treaty ally, or both. "And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision", Champagne told reporters according to another Reuters report.

More news: Russia Calls for Restraint in Syria After Israeli Attacks

"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.

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 reason I'm buying helicopters is because I want to finish them off".

He said if he can not use the equipment against locals "contaminated" by ISIS, he might as well "surrender the government" to them.

NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere has added her voice to the chorus of concern, writing on Twitter: "How can Trudeau justify this deal with the Philippines when Duterte's government has plunged the country into a awful human rights crisis?"

Reacting to Trudeau's comment, Duterte said: "I said, 'I will not explain".

The Philippine government says police have only shot suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights groups' claims the crackdown is a crime against humanity.

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