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Philippines military says Canada helicopters ‘not for attacking insurgents’

The Philippines military on Thursday denied that it planned to use 16 Bell helicopters bought from Canada as attack aircraft against local insurgents. Canadian media had reported overnight Wednesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was reconsidering the sale over fears that the aircraft would be used in internal security operations, hours after both governments had announced it. “They must not politicize the acquisition,” said Major-General Restituto Padilla, deputy chief of staff for plans and programs of the Philippines armed forces. “These are utility helicopters, not attack helicopters,” Padilla told AFP. The Philippines defense department said the deal was signed last December, shortly after Trudeau clashed with President Rodrigo Duterte during a Manila visit over Philippines drug war killings.