Philippines says Canada helicopters 'not for attack'

Canada's Minister of international trade Francois Philippe Champagne speaks during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Danang

Philippines says Canada helicopters 'not for attack'

President Rodrigo Duterte's order, issued in a news conference, came after the Canadian government made a decision to review the $235 million helicopter deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults.

Ottawa had raised concerns the choppers would be used to fight rebels after Maj.

"I want to tell the Armed Forces to cut the deal".

He said while he respects Canada's stand, he no longer wants to purchase military equipment from Canada or the United States because "there is always a condition attached".

He also directed the military not to buy arms anymore "from Canada or from the U.S. because there is always a condition attached".

But International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday he had ordered a review of the deal, which was finalized in December, after a senior member of the Philippines military said the aircraft would also be used in "internal security operations".

"They will be used to transport personnel, supplies, humanitarian missions, ferrying of wounded, injured soldiers and other forms of humanitarian assistance and disaster response", Roque said. 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. "We can not use it for anti-insurgency because if it is used against the Filipino rebels, they will not sell it", he said. "And if I can not use the gunships, the helicopters, then I might as well surrender this government to them", Duterte said in Manila.

Canadian officials said they were concerned about possible human rights violations and said they had understood the helicopters were intended for non-combat operations.

The Philippines and Canada formally signed the helicopter deal on Tuesday. He is doing it also for his country. Human rights groups accuse the police of carrying out illegal killings, staging crime scenes and falsifying reports, a charge they deny.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the latter's drug-war comments.

Trudeau said in November he had called out Duterte over "human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings".

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