Duterte terminates Canada chopper deal

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The President issued the decision after Canada chose to review the $233-million helicopter deal over concerns the aircraft will be used for anti-insurgency operations.

The Liberal government had defended the deal, which is being facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corp., arguing the Montreal-built Bell helicopters would be used during search-and-rescue missions and disaster relief.

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

Duterte said in the future the Philippine military will not buy its equipment from either Canada or the U.S.

"They must not politicise the acquisition", said Major-General Restituto Padilla, the deputy chief of staff for plans and programmes of the Philippine armed forces.

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"They will be used to transport personnel, supplies, humanitarian missions, ferrying of wounded, injured soldiers and other forms of humanitarian assistance and disaster response", Roque said.

"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.

"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.

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who ordered the deal's review, says Duterte's comments underline the confusion and contradictions that have surrounded the deal.

Duterte, who has been critical of USA security policies and has lashed out at Washington for criticizing his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs, did not elaborate on why he wants purchases of unspecified US arms to be stopped.

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The Canadian government had made a decision to undertake a review of the agreement to sell 16 helicopters to the Philippines after speculations were raised that these would be used for counter-insurgency assaults. The country is also regularly battered by typhoons.

Duterte, however, said they were to go after Maoist rebels.

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.

Duterte said past investigations failed to turn up evidence that he ordered extrajudicial killings of specific people, although he acknowledged he has threatened to kill those who destroy his country's youth.

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