Duterte orders military to cancel chopper deal with Canada
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Friday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to cancel the P12-billion contract with Canada for the purchase of 16 new helicopters.
Duterte issued the directive after news reports said Canada wants to review the contract after a statement of a military general that the new Bell 412 helicopters would be used against the enemies of the state, including the communist New People's Army.
While Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier denied that the Bell choppers would be used to fight enemies of the state, Duterte, in a press conference in Davao City, said the aircraft could really be used against the rebels and terrorists.
"Do not buy anymore from Canada," he said.
He added the military should not purchase weapons from the United States because like Canada, a "condition is attached" when a contract is to be forged.
Duterte said his order only covers weapons or arms. But as to other products, such as soap and cosmetics, the Philippines could buy from Canada.
The Philippines and Canada signed the contract for the 16 brand new Bell helicopters in December last year.
The choppers were supposed to be delivered to Manila starting next year. Celerina Monte/DMS