OTTAWA --- Just one day after signing a $233 million agreement to sell 16 helicopters to the Philippines, the Canadian government on Wednesday ordered a review of the deal amid concerns the aircraft could be used to fight rebels.
Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said that the deal - formally signed on Tuesday - had been struck in 2012 on the understanding the helicopters would be used for search-and-rescue missions.
Philippine Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, told Reuters on Tuesday the helicopters would be used for the military’s internal security operations, adding they could also be deployed in search-and-rescue and disaster relief operations.
“When we saw that declaration ... we immediately launched a review with the relevant authorities. And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision,” Champagne told reporters, without giving more details.
The Bell 412EPI helicopters were due be delivered early next year as the Philippine military prepares to step up operations against Islamist and communist rebels.
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana initially expressed bemusement at news of Canada reviewing the deal. (end of excerpt)
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