By S.L. Fuller | February 12, 2018
The Philippines has canceled the recently signed deal it struck with Bell Helicopter for 16 412EPIs, several news outlets have reported. After Canada called for the government-to-government transaction to be reviewed, the Philippines is simply going to look elsewhere.
According to Reuters, the defense minister of the Philippines said the country is now looking at Korea, Russia, China, Turkey and others to procure the medium helicopters. A report from Ottawa Citizen said Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, ordered the cancellation and doesn’t plan to procure equipment from North America in the future.
Canada called for the review after the Philippines’ military chief said the helicopters could be used for counterinsurgency. Bell and the Canadian government signed the deal with the understanding the helicopters would be primarily used for disaster response and search and rescue. According to news reports, Canada did not want to be involved in a deal that could endanger Filipino citizens.
“The 16 brand new Bell 412 helicopters, which we are procuring for the Armed Forces of Philippines, will primarily be used for the transportation of personnel and supplies, ferrying wounded and injured soldiers, and the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” the Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines said in response to Canada’s decision to review the deal. “As its designation ‘Combat Utility Helicopter of CUH’ connotes, the Bell CUH 412 is a utility helicopter and, contrary to what some parties mistakenly believe, its mission is to save lives.
“Should the Canadian Government choose to discontinue their sale of the aircraft to us,” the secretary’s Feb 8 statement continued, “then we will procure them from another source.”
According to Reuters, Duterte said the Philippines would not buy from countries that pose conditions. The report continued that the defense minister said the Philippines, since it was buying the helicopters, should not have to justify their use.