Discontinue helicopter deal with Canada — Duterte to AFP

16 more Bell 412 EPI combat utility helicopters joining the Philippine Air Force fleet

Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines

"These (helicopters) are a real benefit to Filipinos", Canadian ambassador John Holmes said on the mission's Facebook page, adding it would boost Manila's "search and rescue and disaster relief capabilities".

"We respect the stand of Canada", Duterte said in a news conference in Davao City.

Canada announced an official review of the deal, to make sure the helicopters would not be used for counterinsurgency operations.

Roque was responding to the announcement of the Canadian government to review the deal amounting to $233.36 million or about P12 billion.

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.

The review was ordered following criticism that the helicopters may be used against Filipino citizens, including rebels from the New People's Army.

But then Reuters reported that Philippine Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, told the publication the helicopters would be used for the military's internal security operations and possibly the missions Bell mentioned. "Somehow we will look for another supplier".

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They accuse President Rodrigo Duterte of human rights abuses and carrying out unlawful killings amid his anti-drug campaign. "The reason I'm buying helicopters is because I want to finish them off".

Trudeau said in November he had spoken to Duterte about "human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings".

The Filipino military also uses derivations of the Bell-UH-1H helicopter, which first saw service for the USA military in the Vietnam War in the early 1960s.

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

At one point during the briefing, Duterte asks someone in audience how many helicopters his country is buying from Canada.

"The fact that Canadian equipment is making its way to the Philippine military raises serious questions about the effectiveness of Canada's exports controls-and about potential Canadian complicity, however unintended, in instances of human rights violation".

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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