Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is still angry at Canada.
Months after Duterte ordered a $233-million helicopter deal with a Canadian company canceled, the president continues to feel strongly about the failed deal.
The Philippine Star newspaper reports that in a speech before the Filipino community in South Korea on June 3, Duterte once again said Canada was “stupid”.
Duterte said it was a stupid move by the Canadian government to raise concerns that the helicopters would be used against rebels in the Philippines.
“We ordered Bell helicopters from Canada. They said they will deliver the Bell helicopters but you cannot use [them] against your own citizen,” Duterte said in the Philippine Star report.
The Philippines was supposed to purchase 16 Bell 412EPI utility helicopters from Canada.
The Canadian government claimed the helicopters were supposed to be used for search and rescue and humanitarian missions.
But the Philippine government contradicted that and said the aircraft was for internal security missions and transport of wounded during combat operations.
Duterte canceled the deal in February after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered a review over fears of human rights abuses.
“How stupid can you… Why would you say that I cannot use it against my own citizens when there are citizens in my country who are trying to overthrow my government?” Duterte said in the Philippine Star report.
The chief executive said that Filipinos are joining the New People’s Army and terrorist groups.
“They are fighting the government and killing my soldiers, my policemen and civilians. It’s a dirty war and the people are dying… My Moro brothers, on the other hand, joined terrorist forces and went to Marawi,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.
He said that the government might just acquire helicopters from South Korea.
Duterte started a three-day visit in South Korea on June 3 with the aim to boost trade and defense relations.
South Korea builds the KAI KUH-1 Surion, a twin-engine medium-sized helicopter used by its army.
Duterte first called Canada “stupid” over the helicopter deal last March.
“Look at how stupid the Canadians are, very stupid. They agreed to sell the helicopters. But when they were due to be delivered, they said, ‘Ah but you cannot use these for military or punitive actions by the police,’” he said in a speech during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.