Philippines president questions whether Trudeau understands history, politics
Duterte called off plans to buy 16 helicopters from Canada in February after news that the prime minister was reviewing the deal over human rights concerns.
The agreement stipulated by the Trudeau government for the estimated $300-million deal said helicopters could not be used for combat.
In February, Duterte offered a nearly $500 bounty for each communist rebel killed by government forces to save on anti-insurgency costs and said insurgents are easier to hit than birds because they have bigger heads.
During a lengthy speech in the country’s Cebu city on Tuesday, Duterte slammed Trudeau for what he called “delays” in the deal, and said he doesn’t understand the “history of the world and geopolitics.”
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“So they [Canadian government] are delaying the chopper deal. Why? ‘You will use it against your own citizens.’ For God’s sake, Mr. Trudeau, my own citizens are rebelling against us, killing my soldiers and policemen and civilians,” Duterte said.
He then questioned whether Trudeau should be prime minister.
“And I cannot use the helicopter because they are citizens, but they are out to overthrow my government. If you cannot understand, you should not be there in that mighty post of yours because you do not know the history of the world and geopolitics.”
Duterte added that his government wanted to carry on with the helicopter deal, but Trudeau insisted on “pretending to be peaceful.”
“We gave Canada [a contract] for attack helicopters. Then when they’re about to be delivered, this Trudeau wanted to be corny and pretended to be peaceful and all that.”
“This is a troubled world. It has always been a troubled world ever since,” he told the crowd of local government leaders.
In an email to Global News, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada said the government continues to find Duterte’s statements on helicopters “deeply troubling.”
“The statements made (earlier this year) by the Filipino government about the end use of what were intended to be civilian aircraft were then and remain deeply troubling,” Joseph Pickerill, director of communications at the Office of the Minister for International Trade Diversification, wrote.
“Human rights are an integral part of our trade agenda and launching a review of the proposed helicopter deal was the right thing to do. We will continue to support and defend our values, our workers and the world-class products they produce each and every day,” the statement added.
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The helicopter deal has been a source of controversy between the two countries for some time.
Also in February, Duterte said he wanted to use the helicopters to “finish off” those who pose threats to his leadership.
“I’m buying helicopters because I want to finish them off,” said Duterte, referring to Muslim and communist rebels along with Islamic militants in the country’s volatile south.
The Canadian government initially defended the controversial deal, which was facilitated by Canadian Commercial Corp., saying the machines would only be used for disaster relief and search-and-rescue missions.
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But a senior officer in the Philippines military, which has been accused of committing human rights abuses in its war with local terrorists and rebels, soon after admitted they would be used for internal security operations.
This isn’t the first time Duterte has targeted Trudeau for voicing human rights concerns.
Last November, Duterte attacked Trudeau at the end of a summit of Asian and Western nations for raising questions about his war on drugs.
“I said I will not explain. It is a personal and official insult,” the Philippines president said, without naming Trudeau specifically.
“I only answer to the Filipino. I will not answer to any other bulls**t, especially foreigners. Lay off.”
— With files from Reuters, The Canadian Press
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