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Duterte orders military to cancel helicopter deal with Canada

10 February 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he had cancelled a US$235 million contract to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government ordered a review over human rights concerns.

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

Mr Lorenzana said on Thursday that the helicopters will be used in a "limited" role primarily "for the transportation of personnel and supplies, ferrying wounded and injured soldiers, and the conduct of humanitarian and assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations". "If I can not use the gunship, the helicopter, then I might as well surrender this government to [the rebels]".

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is ordering a review of the planned sale of 16 412EPI helicopters to the Philippine military amid concerns about the country's human rights record.

Following the Canadian government's announcement that it is now reviewing its sale to the Philippine government of 16 Bell helicopters, Roque said: "If they don't want to sell, we may consider the prospect of procuring them from other sources".

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Duterte said while he did not question Canada's logic, his logic was based on "reality on the ground". The Canadian leader was praised by human rights groups for raising the concerns, but Duterte said he was insulted and angered by the remarks.

"U.S., because of its too much imposition, but I assure you, I am supporting Trump", Duterte said.

Philippine troops and police, beset by Islamist and communist insurgencies, fought a five-month battle a year ago against Islamic State group supporters in the southern city of Marawi. "He is doing it also for his country, people just don't understand him".

Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that is said to have left almost 4,000 drug suspects dead, described Trudeau's comments as "a personal and official insult".

Bensouda has said in the past that she was deeply concerned about reports of the killings, and that statements by "high officials" in the Philippines "seem to condone such killings". "You better clear that up because I will withdraw from the ICC".

Duterte orders military to cancel helicopter deal with Canada