Duterte cancels helicopter deal with Canada, orders military to shop elsewhere

Duterte cancels helicopter deal with Canada, orders military to shop elsewhere

They say there is evidence the Philippine military has been committing human-rights abuses while fighting Islamist militants on the southern island of Mindanao and in a war against communist rebels in other parts of the country.

The helicopters, Bell said, were to be used for missions including disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport.

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. "Do not push it through and somehow, we will look for another supplier".

During Trudeau's official visit in the Philippines a year ago for the 31st Association of South East Nations, he said that he "impressed upon" Duterte the need to respect the rule of law to combat illegal drugs.

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The military stressed they were "utility helicopters, not attack helicopters". "Or from the United States, because there is always a condition attached".

Canadian media had reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government was reconsidering the sale over fears the aircraft would be used in internal security operations, just hours after both governments had announced the deal.

"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.

"The reason I'm buying helicopters is because I want to finish them off", Duterte added.

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Reacting to Trudeau's comment, Duterte said: "I said, 'I will not explain".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, talks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13.

The president later suggested he took Mr Trudeau's remarks as a "personal and official insult".

It is also not the first time a Canadian deal has been scrutinised over human rights concerns.

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Neither the Canadian Commercial Corporation nor Global Affairs Canada responded to questions about whether the government conducted a human-rights assessment before approving the most recent helicopter sale.

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