Canada-Philippines helicopter deal sparks human rights concerns

Canada-Philippines helicopter deal sparks human rights concerns

The purchase was made as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization plans, through a government-to-government contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation. They would be used in disaster relief efforts.

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".

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

The country recently signed a deal with Canada to buy 16 Bell helicopters, which will be delivered early next year.

"The prime minister and I have been very clear about the Duterte regime's human rights abuses and the extrajudicial killings", she told parliament.

While Duterte says he respects Canada's position, he also opposes any condition that would restrict using the helicopters in fighting terrorists and communist rebels inside his country.

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"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".

Duterte said he respects Canada's decision on the helicopter deal but asked the military to no longer procure other arms from Canada and the United States.

"I have the authority to deny a permit if I feel that it poses a risk to human rights, and I am prepared to do so", Freeland added.

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.

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.

Human rights groups have raised concerns over the proposed sale to the Philippines.

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