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"These (helicopters) are a real benefit to Filipinos", Canadian ambassador John Holmes said on the mission's Facebook page, adding it would boost Manila's "search and rescue and disaster relief capabilities".

During Trudeau's official visit in the Philippines previous year for the 31st Association of South East Nations, he said that he "impressed upon" Duterte the need to respect the rule of law to combat illegal drugs.

Canada's International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne earlier said the deal formally signed Tuesday had been struck in 2012 on the understanding the helicopters would be used for search-and-rescue missions.

The review was ordered following criticism that the helicopters may be used against Filipino citizens, including rebels from the New People's Army. I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal. and somehow we will look for another supplier.

"Do not buy any more from Canada and the United States because there is always a condition attached", he said, referring to defence materiel.

Philippines Major-General Restituto Padilla had said the helicopters would be used for the internal security operations against communist and Islamist rebels.

"The prime minister and I have been very clear about the Duterte regime's human rights abuses and the extrajudicial killings", she told parliament.

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Trudeau, who was present at a summit of southeast Asian countries, said Philippines need a rule of law and expressed his wish on behalf of his federal government to help Philippines.

News of the sale caused some in Canada to raise concerns over Duterte's human rights record.

"We are going to make sure before this deal or any other deal goes through that we are abiding by the rules ... that Canadian governments have to follow", he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman warned Manila may walk away from the deal in light of the controversy.

"They are not attack or close support aircraft", he said.

Neither the Canadian Commercial Corporation nor Global Affairs Canada responded to questions about whether the government conducted a human-rights assessment before approving the most recent helicopter sale.

"The fact that Canadian equipment is making its way to the Philippine military raises serious questions about the effectiveness of Canada's exports controls-and about potential Canadian complicity, however unintended, in instances of human rights violation".


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