Philippines to notify Canada on cancelling chopper deal this week: Lorenzana
The Philippine government will formally cancel a contract with Canada to buy 16 Bell 412 EPI utility helicopters, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.
“The formal letter cancelling the contract is being prepared and I will sign it this week,” Lorenzana said.
“We are looking at Korea, Russia, China and Turkey and other countries for our medium lift helicopters in lieu of the Bell 412,” he added.
Lorenzana said the cancellation of the deal will delay acquisition of helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.
“Our helicopter procurement will be delayed because we will go back to square one on the procurement process,” he said.
Based on the contract signed last December 29, 2017, the delivery of the helicopters is supposed to start on the first quarter of 2019 and will be completed by the second quarter of 2020.
The contract for the acquisition of the 16 units of Bell 412 EPI utility helicopters amounting to 12 billion pesos was signed by Lorenzana, James Williamson representing Bell and Yvonne Chin, Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) director for Asia.
Last week, the Canadian government has ordered the review of the helicopter deal with the Philippines amid concerns the AFP will use the aircraft to fight the enemies of the state. On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the chopper deal terminated.
“Wrong information or not I think there is malice in the way it is being raised. First, this is just a repeat order. Why do they raise that issue now? Second, It is not an attack helicopter but a medium lift. Meaning it is for the transportation of troops and supplies. Third, we will not get these for free we were procuring these,” he said.
“How we use it is none of their f… business. We do not have to justify how we use these equipment,” added Lorenzana. Robina Asido/DMS