FOLLOWING the scrapping of the P232-million helicopter deal with Canada, the Philippines is now considering other nations, including China and Russia, as alternate aircraft suppliers, Malacañang said on Tuesday, February 13.

"We will purchase helicopters either from China, Russia, or South Korea," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. told reporters in Kalinga.

Roque's statement came in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement on February 9 that the Philippine government would no longer push through with its plan to procure 16 Bell helicopters worth $233 million from Canada.

The President terminated the deal after Canada raised concerns over the possibility that the helicopters would be used for counter-insurgency attacks.

The Philippines signed a deal with Canada on February 6 to acquire 16 combat utility helicopters worth $233 million. Canada, however, ordered the review of the agreement following reports that the helicopters would be used for operations against communist guerillas and Islamist fighters.

Three days later, Duterte admitted that the helicopters would be used against rebels.

"(Canada government) said they will only sell (the helicopters) but only for evacuation and emergency. We cannot use it for anti-insurgency because if it is used against the Filipino rebels, they will not sell it," the President said in a speech in Davao City on February 9.

"Now, I am directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever weapons of war, we will really use those against them," he added. (SunStar Philippines)