Canada is selling 16 military combat helicopters to the Philippine Air Force. This is in addition to the 8 sold in 2015. Below is the article from the Canadian Broadcasting Co.- a public broadcaster. Attached is ICHRP’s letter which is quoted in the CBC article.
Philippines inks $233M deal with Canada for combat utility helicopters
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By Jonathon Gatehouse, CBC News Posted: Feb 06, 2018 2:00 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 06, 2018 2:00 PM ET
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte salutes customs police Tuesday in Manila. His government has inked a deal to purchase 16 combat utility helicopters from Canada for use in ‘internal security operations.’ (Bullit Marquez/Associated Press)
The Philippines has inked a $233 million deal to purchase 16 combat utility helicopters from Canada for use in “internal security operations” against Maoist rebels and Islamic State allied extremists.
The $233 million deal would see Canada sell the Philippines 16 Bell 412EPI helicopters. (Bell Helicopter)
The agreement, announced this morning, will see the Bell 412EPI choppers delivered early next year as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s broad push to modernize his military and bring more power to bear on restive regions of the country.
The deal is sure to raise questions about the Duterte’s government’s true aims, and Canada’s role in arming a regime that stands accused of widespread human rights abuses.
Last May, the Canadian-based International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) wrote to Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland to ask if eight helicopters sold in a 2014 deal with Bell were being used in air campaigns that are alleged to have targeted civilians.
Soldiers board a helicopter in June 2017 as government troops battled insurgents from the Maute group in the Marawi City region. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)
The strikes in Malibcong, Abra, reportedly destroyed farms and forests. The Philippine military is fighting the New People’s Army, an armed communist group in the region.
Duterte has not been particularly concerned about who gets caught in the crossfire. After NPA guerrillas killed four police last March, the president instructed his forces to “go ahead, flatten the hills,” adding, “if there’s collateral damage, pasensiya [a Tagalog word meaning ‘too bad’].”
Justin Trudeau did raise the issue of human rights in the Philippines — most specifically a war on drugs that has seen the extrajudicial killings of thousands by police — during a face-to-face meeting with Duterte in Manila last November. The prime minister characterized the discussion as “cordial,” but that wasn’t his counterpart’s take.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, met with Duterte before the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit in Manila in November 2017. (Mark R. Cristino/EPA-EFE)
“It is a personal and official insult,” the Philippines president railed at a news conference. “I only answer to the Filipino. I will not answer to any other bullshit, especially foreigners. Lay off.”
Canada’s foreign arm sales have been under scrutiny since reports last summer that the Saudi Arabian military was using armoured vehicles made in London, Ont., to quell an uprising in a minority Shia Muslim area.
That $15 billion deal was struck by Stephen Harper’s government, but approved by the Liberals shortly after they took office. Ottawa is currently defending the agreement against a Federal Court challenge on the grounds that it contravenes restrictions on exporting arms to countries with a “persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.”
There are precedents for halting arms sales to the Philippines. In October 2016, the U.S. State Department quashed the export of 26,000 assault rifles after Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate, said he would oppose it over human rights concerns.
Duterte checks the scope of a 7.62mm sniper rifle. During a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in January, he indicated that his country may buy a large order of firearms from India. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)
Duterte reacted with his usual calm. “Look at these monkeys, the 26,000 firearms we wanted to buy, they don’t want to sell,” he said in a televised speech. “Son of a bitch, we have many homemade guns here. These American fools.”
Last month, during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the Philippines president indicated that he might purchase the guns from India.
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