Philippines president orders cancelation of $233mn helicopter deal with Canada

"If I can not use the gunship, the helicopter, then I might as well surrender this government to [the rebels]".

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he has ordered the military to cancel a $233 million agreement to purchase 16 helicopters from Canada.

The Canadian government initially defended the deal, saying the helicopters would only be used for disaster relief and search-and-rescue missions, and that the sale would support upwards of 1,000 jobs in the Montreal area.

Mr Lorenzana said on Thursday that the helicopters will be used in a "limited" role primarily "for the transportation of personnel and supplies, ferrying wounded and injured soldiers, and the conduct of humanitarian and assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations".

"I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal, and somehow we will look for another supplier", Duterte said.

"We respect the stand of Canada", Duterte said in a news conference in Davao City.

"Now, I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever weapons of war, we will really use those against them", he added.

"If you can not use it against the terrorist or Filipino citizen, then prepare for the eventual collapse of this country", the President said. "We are neutral", Duterte said, without making clear if he was referring to Canada or the USA, his country's treaty ally, or both.

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Duterte did not elaborate on why he wants purchases of USA arms to be stopped.

"I assure you, I am supporting Trump". "He is a good president". The country is also regularly battered by typhoons.

But Trudeau's comment was not well accepted by Duterte.

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.

"(Canada government) said they will only sell (the helicopters) but only for evacuation and emergency.

"People just don't understand", said Duterte.

Human-rights and arms-control groups have accused the Philippine armed forces of extrajudicial killings and other atrocities in their fight against Islamic militants and communist rebels.

"While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that numerous reported incidents involved extrajudicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations", said Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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