Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed the Canadian government for stopping a $233-million deal to sell 16 helicopters to the Philippine government.
Speaking at the General Assembly of the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel on March 20, Duterte criticized Canada’s decision.
“My God, you Canadians, how stupid can you get? Our citizens are joining ISIS so we have every right to kill our citizens because we do not want to destroy the community with apathy,” Duterte said.
The Philippine military had already canceled the deal following a directive from Duterte.
“Tingnan mo how stupid the Canadians are, very stupid. Pumayag sila na mapagbili. Noong ma-deliver na sabi nila, ‘Ah but you cannot use these for military or punitive actions by the police. This is only good for evacuation and ‘yung mga humanitarian… You cannot use these against your own citizens,'” Duterte said.
Since coming to power in June 2016, Duterte has been known as one of Asia’s most outspoken leaders.
The Philippines has been fighting Islamic extremism in recent years.
Groups affiliated to ISIS had been operating in the Asian country since 2014.
Tensions between extremist groups and the government culminated with the Marawi Siege, a five-month conflict that has cost thousands of lives.
Last February, Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne revealed that the deal with the Philippines would be placed under review.
The move came after it emerged the helicopters might be used in operations by Philippine police and military that could violate human rights.
“You jerks,” Duterte continued, “[that’s why] we bought helicopters because we want to use them and then you sell us something we can’t use anymore.”
The helicopters were designed by a U.S. company, Bell, but are manufactured in Canada. The model that the Philippines wants to purchase is the 412EPI, which the company advertises as being for commercial use.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to have been the target of a previous outburst by Duterte in November last year.
After a summit of the Association of Southeast Nations in Manila, Duterte criticized leaders for raising questions about his war on drugs.
Duterte said that time, “It’s a personal and official insult.”
Duterte also added, “I will not answer to any other bulls**t, especially foreigners. Lay off.”
Trudeau dismissed the idea that these comments related to him.
Trudeau claimed that the meeting with Duterte had been “a very cordial and positive exchange”.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had earlier said that 16 Bell 412 choppers the Armed Forces of the Philippines was supposed to buy from Canada will primarily be used for the transportation of personnel and supplies, ferrying wounded and injured soldiers, and the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
Lorenzana said the purpose of the choppers was to “save lives.”
The military is now looking at South Korea, Russia, China, and Turkey as a potential new supplier of the helicopters.