Philippine president cancels deal to buy Canadian helicopters

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10 February, 2018

Known for his impromptu decisions and public outbursts, the Philippine president declared in a nationally televised news conference that he wants the helicopter deal, and purchases of unspecified US weapons, halted.

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

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.

Trudeau said during the November summit that he called out Duterte over "human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings".

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

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".

The Canadian Commercial Corporation, which helps broker foreign military deals on behalf of the federal government, facilitated the agreement.

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Duterte said his country has the right to deploy the helicopters as it wishes."Invariably (these helicopters) will be used against the rebels and terrorists".

Despite this, Duterte assured Filipinos they could still buy other products from Canada.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the latter's drug-war comments.

The president later suggested he took Mr Trudeau's remarks as a "personal and official insult".

Canada announced an official review of the deal, to make sure the helicopters would not be used for counterinsurgency operations.

It is also not the first time a Canadian deal has been scrutinised over human rights concerns.

The Liberal government has previously been criticized for approving arms exports to countries with questionable human-rights records, most notably the massive deal for light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.

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