Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Philippines says Canada helicopters 'not for attack'

Philippines says Canada helicopters 'not for attack'

"We respect the stand of Canada", he said.

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.

"We have very clear rules around who and what we can sell either arms of potential military vehicles like helicopters and controls-on what they intend to be used for and checks in how they are used", Trudeau said.

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

Philippine troops and police, beset by Islamist and communist insurgencies, fought a five-month battle previous year against Islamic State group supporters in the southern city of Marawi.

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

Filipino officials have said the country would buy the aircraft from another source if Canada did not follow through on the deal.

According to a report, the Philippines signed a deal with Canada on February 7 for the sale of 16 combat utility choppers worth $233.36 million, or roughly P12 billion pesos.

"They are not attack or close support aircraft", he said.

Mr Trudeau told journalists that he spoke with the Mr Duterte about concerns related to extrajudicial killings linked to the president's war on drugs.

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Philippine troops are battling militants in the Muslim south and communist guerillas in other parts of the mainly Catholic country. They would be used in disaster relief efforts.

Duterte said past investigations failed to turn up evidence that he ordered extrajudicial killings of specific people, although he acknowledged he has threatened to kill those who destroy his country's youth.

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".

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

The Canadian PM said Duterte has been receptive to comments regarding his government's crackdown on drug dealers that had claimed several lives.

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