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DND issues termination contract on chopper deal with Canada

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The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday officially issued its termination contract notice on the procurement for combat utility helicopters worth $233.36 million, saying that it does not owe the Canadian government any justification for its purchase from a privately-owned company.

In a statement, the DND said the termination of contract agreement for 16 units of Bell 412 combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force was issued to Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

"The termination was precipitated by the review ordered by the Canadian government on the implementation of the signed Contract Agreement between the DND and CCC," the DND said.

"While the combat utility helicopters being purchased are primarily for the purpose of transporting personnel and supplies, the Department believes that it does not owe the Canadian government any justification for an outright purchase of equipment from a privately-owned company," it added.

The DND said that the termination was in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte and is also in "pursuant to the Government Procurement Law (RA 9184) which authorizes contract termination for the convenience of the government."

Despite this, the DND said it will continue to pursue the modernization program as the government may turn to other countries on procuring the helicopters.

The Canadian government last week ordered a review on the million dollar helicopter agreement, citing concerns that it could be used to fight rebels.

President Rodrigo Duterte then ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to terminate the deal, adding that the government should no longer procure from Canada or the United States due to conditions attached.

Malacañang had said that the 16 helicopters that the AFP would buy from Canada would not be used to attack communist rebels but to transport wounded soldiers or bodies of casualties.

The helicopters were also intended for transportation of supplies and personnel and other forms of humanitarian assistance and disaster response. — RSJ, GMA News

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