Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Duterte orders halt to purchases of Canada copters, US arms

Duterte orders halt to purchases of Canada copters, US arms

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.

"I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) not to buy anymore (military equipment) from Canada or from the United States because there is always a condition attached", Duterte said during the course of a press conference in Davao City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asserted that the Bell helicopters would be used to transport personnel and relief supplies during calamities as well as ferry wounded soldiers. The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) signed a purchase agreement to get the helicopters for the air force. Some military officials reportedly claimed the helicopters would be used for the military's internal security operations as well as search-and-rescue and disaster response operations.

Ottawa said on Thursday that the deal was under review due to concerns about the human rights record of Duterte, the subject of a complaint being considered by the International Criminal Court over the alleged "mass murder" of thousands of Filipino drug suspects. "We are neutral", Duterte said, without making clear if he was referring to Canada or the USA, his country's treaty ally, or both.

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

"It angers me when you are a foreigner, you do not know what exactly is happening in this country. He is doing it also for his country, people just don't understand him". "And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision", Champagne told reporters according to another Reuters report. Human rights groups have reported much higher death tolls and accused law enforcers of carrying out extrajudicial killings and of setting up crime scenes to make the victims appear to have fought back.

Almost 4,000 mostly poor drug suspects have been killed in clashes with police, according to police officials, who say the suspects resisted violently. "You better clear that up because I will withdraw from the ICC".

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