Malacañang was prompt to answer that the Philippine government will consider buying from other sellers of military helicopters in case the Canadian government decides to retract from the $233.36 million deal.
“If they don’t want to sell, we may consider the prospect of procuring them from other sources,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said on Thursday. He did not specify any prospect sellers.
Roque was responding to the announcement of the Canadian government to review the deal amounting to $233.36 million or about P12 billion.
According to Canada’s Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, the said deal struck in 2012 agreed that the helicopters would be used for search-and-rescue missions.
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.”
This was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s armed forces modernization program.
On Tuesday, the Philippines through Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana formally signed with Canadian Commercial Corporation, to purchase 16 helicopters.
The Bell 412EPI choppers will be brought to the country in early 2019.
“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 according to another Reuters report.
Roque, however, negated Padilla’s statement.
“Malinaw po ang dahilan kung bakit natin gustong bumili ng Bell helicopters. Ito po ay gagamitin para [sa] transportasyon ng (The reason why we want to purchase Bell helicopters is clear. These will be used for transportation of) personnel, supplies, humanitarian missions, ferrying of wounded and injured soldiers, and other forms of humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” he said.