PH scraps helicopter deal with Canada

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The government terminated a helicopter deal with a Canadian company following a review by the Canadian government.

The notice issued to the Canadian Commercial Corp. ended the contract for the supply and delivery of 16 units of Bell 412 Combat Utility Helicopters for the Philippine Air Force, according to a Department of National Defense (DND) statement released on Tuesday.

"While the combat utility helicopters being purchased are primarily for the purpose of transporting personnel and supplies, the Department believes that it does not owe the Canadian government any justification for an outright purchase of equipment from a privately-owned company," the statement read.

It added that it would look for the hardware in other countries.

The announcement comes after the Canadian government ordered a review of the P233-million deal, fearing the military will use the helicopters against Filipino citizens, including rebels.

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed on February 9 his preference to scrap the deal, saying the purchase of military equipment from Canada and the United States comes with "a condition attached."

Related: Duterte to AFP: Discontinue helicopter deal with Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the war on drugs during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings last November.

While Trudeau said their discussion was "cordial and positive," Duterte later hit world leaders who criticized the drug war. The President called it "a personal and official insult."

About 4,000 people have died in police operations since the war on drugs was launched in July 2016 according to government reports. However, human rights watchdogs estimate as high as 13,000 have been died, including those killed in vigilante-like operations.

CNN Philippines correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.