Lorenzana confirms Duterte approved buying Black Hawk helicopters
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the acquisition of the Black Hawk multi-purpose helicopter for the Philippine Air Force.
“We talked to him sometime, sir this might be in violation of your pronouncement that you are not going to buy from US (United States) but the Air Force wants that. He asked if that what we really want, the Air Force Chief (Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez) was there, yes sir, okay, go ahead,” he said at the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines Prospects Forum in Makati on Thursday.
“I told him anyway this aircraft is coming from Poland. It will be built in Poland, and there is a factory in Poland making Black Hawk under Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky,” he noted.
“I think he approved that. This is an exception maybe because, the Air Force, said whatever the end users want, we'll buy it,” he added.
A source said Duterte approved the acquisition of Black Hawk helicopters during the command conference last Tuesday.
The source also noted that the supposed 12 billion pesos budget for the acquisition of 16 units of Bell 412 Combat Utility Helicopters from Canada which contract was terminated early last year will be used to purchase the Black Hawks.
It can be recalled that the contract for the acquisition of Bell 412 helicopters was terminated by the Philippine government after the Canadian government ordered the review of the helicopter deal amid concerns that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will use it against enemies of the state.
The source added that the government may acquire around 15 to 16 Black Hawks which were offered to the Philippines for $15 million dollar each. Robina Asido/DMS