Canada orders evaluation of helicopter sale to Philippines

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. REUTERS  Dondi Tawatao

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. REUTERS Dondi Tawatao

Bell Helicopter said the Philippine military would use the aircraft "for a variety of missions such as disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport".

Though Canada has sold weapons to Philippines, the relationship between Trudeau and his counterpart Rodrigo Duterte was not all well in 2017.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said the helicopters will only be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

Ottawa had raised concerns the choppers would be used to fight rebels after Maj.

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

The Filipino military also uses derivations of the Bell-UH-1H helicopter, which first saw service for the U.S. military in the Vietnam War in the early 1960s.

"I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal, don't proceed with it and somehow we will look for another supplier", Duterte said of the helicopter purchase.

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

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

He added that the Canadian government will make sure any deal entered into by the their government are "abiding by the rules and expectations that are not just values, but actual rules that the Canadian government has to follow".

"They are not attack or close support aircraft", he said.

Duterte cited conditions imposed by the American country, which had sold the equipment under the terms they would be used for evacuation and emergency purposes only.

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.

Trudeau, who raised human rights concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte a year ago, replied: "Absolutely".

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