The Philippines is seeking to allay concerns over its planned purchase of 16 Bell 412 helicopters from Canada. "And we want the government to look into that to see if the helicopters are indeed being used in combat that are harming and killing civilians". He did not specify any prospect sellers.
He said while he respects Canada's stand, he no longer wants to purchase military equipment from Canada or the United States because "there is always a condition attached".
Philippine Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, told Reuters on Tuesday the helicopters would be used for the military's internal security operations, adding they could also be deployed in search-and-rescue and disaster relief operations.
In response, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman warned Manila may do its helicopter shopping elsewhere.
Bell Helicopter signed a deal at the Singapore Air Show Feb. 6 for 16 412EPIs.
The Bell 412EPI choppers will be brought to the country in early 2019.
"When we saw that declaration ... we immediately launched a review with the relevant authorities".
"Malinaw po ang dahilan kung bakit natin gustong bumili ng Bell helicopters".
"We are going to make sure, before this deal or any other deal goes through, that we are abiding by the rules and the expectations", he said.
But it is also the latest to spark concerns from human-rights and arms-control groups, who have previously raised red flags about recent Canadian arms deals with Saudi Arabia, Colombia and other destinations.
The military stressed they were "utility helicopters, not attack helicopters".
Trudeau, who raised human rights concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte past year, replied: "Absolutely".
Philippine troops are battling militants in the Muslim south and communist guerillas in other parts of the mainly Catholic country.
The Canadian officials have stated they are confident that the helicopters will be used for disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport.
NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere has added her voice to the chorus of concern, writing on Twitter: "How can Trudeau justify this deal with the Philippines when Duterte's government has plunged the country into a bad human rights crisis?"
Almost 4,000 mostly poor drug suspects have been killed in clashes with police, according to police officials, who say the suspects resisted violently.
The Philippine government says police only shot the suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights monitors' description of the crackdown as a crime against humanity.