MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) will go ahead with its acquisition of utility helicopters from Canada even as the Department of National Defense (DND) had aborted its $233-million contract to purchase 16 new helicopters from the North American country.
PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao said the PNP's contract with aerospace firm Bell was already a done deal in June 2017.
PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa previously announced the expected delivery of a twin-engine Bell helicopter this March.
Before the end of the year, the PNP is expecting the delivery of two more of the total 5 choppers purchased at P435 million each. Another two will arrive next year.
“Inaasahan ng PNP that the helicopter will be delivered the soonest possible time, otherwise ang Bell helicopter will be required to pay for some amount for the delayed delivery. Hindi maaapektuhan sa pronouncement ng Pangulo, may kontrata na ito since 2017 June,” Bulalacao said.
He also made it clear that the choppers would not be armed and would only be used to ferry police supplies and equipment.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier terminated the DND's chopper deal with Canada after several Canadian politicians questioned why Ottawa allowed the purchase despite reported human rights violations in the Philippines under the administration's drug war.
Officials have denied involvement in reported summary killings, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had violently resisted arrest, prompting officers to defend themselves.