$235M US Philippine deal to buy Quebec-made helicopters cancelled

The Philippine president has ordered the cancellation of a deal to buy 16 helicopters from Quebec and says purchases of U.S. arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he says he still supports U.S. President Donald Trump.

President Rodrigo Duterte's order, issued in a news conference today, came after the Canadian government decided to review the $300-million helicopter deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults.

Duterte says, "I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal, don't proceed with it and somehow we will look for another supplier."

Duterte did not elaborate on why he wants purchases of U.S. arms to be stopped.

"If you sell helicopters for transport it's one thing, if you sell them for military reasons it's a different process, it has to be followed", said Quebec Economy minister Dominique Anglade.

The Bell 412EPI helicopters were to be produced in Mirabel, north of Montreal.

Bell Helicopter declined to comment Friday on Duterte's decision.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said in Saguenay, Que., that he was disappointed with word of the cancelled contract, in particular for employees who he said must be worried at the news.

Couilllard said Bell's Mirabel installation is a successful operation that could continue to count on the province's support.