Philippines' Duterte cancels Canada Bell helicopter deal

Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines

Canada sells 16 helicopters to Philippines after drug war row

"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.

Ottawa said yesterday that the deal was under review due to concerns over the human rights record of Duterte, the subject of a complaint in the International Criminal Court over the alleged "mass murder" of thousands of Filipino drug suspects. "And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision", Champagne told reporters, without giving more details. The Associated Press reported the defense secretary did say the country was not afraid to look elsewhere for sellers, should the deal with Canada fall through.

"These are multi-purpose aircraft for anti-terrorism as well as HADR", he said, using military lingo that refers to disaster response and humanitarian missions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the sale on Wednesday evening during a question-and-answer session during a visit to the United States.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government chose to undertake a review of the 12 billion peso ($235 million) deal, which was announced this week, due to concerns the Philippine military may use the helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults, according to news reports.

Duterte said today he respected Canada's stand but added it was unavoidable that the Philippine air force would used the choppers "against the rebels and terrorists".

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"(Canada government) said they will only sell (the helicopters) but only for evacuation and emergency.

The Crown corporation would not reveal any other details about the deal, citing commercial confidentiality, but media reports say the Philippines government had set aside almost $300 million for the purchase.

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 two governments announced the deal less than three months after Duterte and Trudeau clashed.

Opposition parties and human-rights groups have called for the cancellation of the sale of light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia over concerns they would be misused.

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