Canada sells 16 helicopters to Philippines after drug war row

Share

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.

Gen. Restituto Padilla, chief of plans at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the helicopters would be used for internal security operations apart from deployment in search-and-rescue and disaster relief missions.

The deal represents another win for the Canadian defence industry when it comes to the Southeast Asian nation; Canada also sold eight Bell helicopters made in Montreal to the Philippines armed forces in 2015.

"When we saw that declaration ... we immediately launched a review with the relevant authorities".

But it is also the latest to spark concerns from human-rights and arms-control groups, who have previously raised red flags about recent Canadian arms deals with Saudi Arabia, Colombia and other destinations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked later whether he was concerned the helicopters might be used against Filipino citizens, replied "Absolutely".

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 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.

Watch the USA capture its first ever Olympic medal in men's luge
On Sunday, he'll try to win a historic medal for Team U.S.A using the same technique that has proven effective for him so far. As an 18-year-old, West had finished 22nd in the luge men's singles at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The military stressed they were "utility helicopters, not attack helicopters".

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.

"Not at all. They are purely for utility purposes - ergo, transport purposes especially during HADR operations", he said, using a military term for disaster response.

News of the sale caused some in Canada to raise concerns over Duterte's human rights record.

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

Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that has left almost 4,000 drug suspects dead at the hands of the police, later described Trudeau's comments as "a personal and official insult", adding he would only answer to his Filipino electorate.

The Philippine government says police have only shot suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights groups' claims the crackdown is a crime against humanity.

Share