Duterte to AFP: Discontinue helicopter deal with Canada

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President Rodrigo Duterte (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told the Armed Forces to discontinue a helicopter deal with Canada, a day after the Canadian government ordered a review of the purchase.

“I want to tell the Armed Forces to cut the deal. Wag na ituloy [Don’t continue] and somehow we will look for another supplier” 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.

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.”

Duterte said this after Canada on Thursday ordered a review of its $233 million deal to sell 16 Bell helicopters to the Philippines.

The review was ordered following criticism that the helicopters may be used against Filipino citizens, including rebels from the New People's Army.

Duterte, however, reasoned the equipment would “invariably” be used against rebels and terrorists.

He said if he cannot use the equipment against locals “contaminated” by ISIS, he might as well “surrender the government” to them.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque had said the helicopters will be used for humanitarian operations, although he kept silent on other uses for the new military hardware.

Duterte said while he did not question Canada’s logic, his logic was based on “reality on the ground.”

“If you cannot use it against the terrorist or Filipino citizen, then prepare for the eventual collapse of this country,” the President said.

Despite this, Duterte assured Filipinos they could still buy other products from Canada. He also mentioned his support for U.S. President Donald Trump, whom he met during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting last year.

“I assure you, I am supporting Trump. He is a good president. He is doing it also for his country. People just don’t understand,” said Duterte.