Canada-Philippines helicopter deal sparks human rights concerns

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The Canadian government initially defended the deal, saying the helicopters would only be used for disaster relief and search-and-rescue missions, and that the sale would support upwards of 1,000 jobs in the Montreal area.

But then Reuters reported that Philippine Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, told the publication the helicopters would be used for the military's internal security operations and possibly the missions Bell mentioned.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday that an "extremely rigorous human rights review" would be undertaken before any export permit was issued over the helicopter contract. "We can not use it for anti-insurgency because if it is used against the Filipino rebels, they will not sell it", he said.

"We respect the stand of Canada", Duterte said in a news conference in Davao City.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tried to reassure officials that the helicopters wouldn't be used to attack rebels.

"Now, I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever weapons of war, we will really use those against them", he added.

SOUTHCHINASEA-CHINA  PHILIPPINES

Duterte said while he did not question Canada's logic, his logic was based on "reality on the ground".

"It angers me when you are a foreigner, you do not know what exactly is happening in this country". He is doing it also for his country.

Trump visited the Philippine capital, Manila, in November to meet Duterte and attend an annual summit with Asian and Western leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau, who raised human rights concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte a year ago, replied: "Absolutely".

Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that has left almost 4,000 drug suspects dead at the hands of the police, later described Trudeau's comments as "a personal and official insult", adding he would only answer to his Filipino electorate.

Bensouda has said in the past that she was deeply concerned about reports of the killings, and that statements by "high officials" in the Philippines "seem to condone such killings".

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