Duterte terminates Canada chopper deal

Canada's Minister of international trade Francois Philippe Champagne speaks during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Danang

Asked later whether he was concerned the helicopters might be used against Filipino citizens, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied: "Absolutely".

The Philippine government says police have only shot suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights groups' claims the crackdown is a crime against humanity.

He said if he can not use the equipment against locals "contaminated" by ISIS, he might as well "surrender the government" to them.

The helicopters are being procured for the Philippines Armed Forces in support of internal security operations. But Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified on Thursday that the helicopters made by Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, will be used for humanitarian operations.

The military stressed they were "utility helicopters, not attack helicopters".

"I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) not to buy anymore (military equipment) from Canada or from the United States because there is always a condition attached", Duterte said during the course of a press conference in Davao City.

He added that the Canadian government will make sure any deal entered into by the their government are "abiding by the rules and expectations that are not just values, but actual rules that the Canadian government has to follow".

However, Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, in a Reuters report, noted that the helicopters could be of help for search-and-rescue operations for disaster relief operations, but said that "the helicopters will be used for the military's internal security operations".

Filipino officials have said the country would buy the aircraft from another source if Canada did not follow through on the deal.

Trudeau said then that he raised concerns about human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings in Duterte's anti-drug campaign during a meeting with the Philippine president. "It is a personal and official insult".

It is also not the first time a Canadian deal has been scrutinised over human rights concerns.

Neither the Canadian Commercial Corporation nor Global Affairs Canada responded to questions about whether the government conducted a human-rights assessment before approving the most recent helicopter sale.

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