Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Despite Trudeau's human rights concern, Canada sells weapons to Philippines

Minister of International Trade Francois Philippe Champagne announced Wednesday that he had ordered a review of the helicopter deal after a senior member of the Philippine military said the aircraft would also be used in “internal security operations Champagne orders review of controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines
Glenn Montgomery | 11 February, 2018, 05:38

The Philippine president on Friday ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada and said purchases of US arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he said he still supports President Donald Trump.

The Canadian government is not OK with the helicopters being used for those "internal security operations", however.

"I want to tell the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to cut the deal".

Although he said he respects Canada's stand, Duterte said using the helicopters just to ferry troops and dead soldiers is "a insane proposition".

"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. Philippines Major-General Restituto Padilla had said the helicopters would be used for the internal security operations against communist and Islamist rebels.

The Philippine defense minister later clarified that the Bell 412EPI helicopters were mainly for transport, rescue and disaster response. "You don't even investigate.", the Philippines President added.

News reports said government officials from the Philippines does not plan to use the helicopters for counterinsurgency operations. "Somehow we will look for another supplier", the President said during a press conference in Davao City.

"I hope that we will never be called upon to use arms in their defence or for them".

Bell Helicopter signed a deal at the Singapore Air Show Feb. 6 for 16 412EPIs.

But human rights advocates expressed disbelief that Canada was selling the aircraft to the Philippines considering the country's poor human rights record and its controversial leader Duterte. The allegations relate to extrajudicial executions committed during the president's war on drugs, which has killed thousands. "And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision", Champagne told reporters, without giving more details. He is doing it also for his country.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also raised concerns about extrajudicial killings while visiting the country in November, specifically those related to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent crackdown on illegal drugs.

In 2017, Villanueva said the Army filled its 2017 recruitment quota of about 350 new officers and 13,000 new enlisted personnel, including 1,000 slots allotted to indigenous peoples.

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