The Philippine government is looking at countries like Russia and China as suppliers for new helicopters to replace Canada’s Bell-412 EPI deal that was cancelled by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are looking at Korea, Russia, China and Turkey and other countries for our medium lift helicopters in lieu of the Bell 412,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Monday.
Duterte ordered the termination of the P12-billion contract for the eight Bell-412 EPI combat utility helicopters after the Canadian government ordered the review of the agreement of the purchase, amid concerns that these air assets would be used for insurgency.
Lorenzana admitted that this would cause a delay in the purchase of the helicopters.
“Back to square one tayo sa procurement process,” he said.
He also questioned the “malice” put up by Canada in bringing up the use of the helicopters.
“First, this is just a repeat order. Why do they raise that issue now? Second, it is not an attack helicopter but a medium lift. Meaning pang hakot ng tao, supplies. Third, hindi naman ito hinihingi kundi bibilhin. How we use it is none of their business. We do not have to justify how we use these equipment,” he said.
The Philippine Air Force has at least eight Bell-412 EP combat utility helicopters in its inventory, with some deployed to the Presidential Airlift Wing.
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