Many suppliers can meet PH demand for helicopters – defense chief

There are more than enough suppliers to provide the Philippine requirement for combat utility helicopters (CUHs) should the country’s contract with Bell Helicopter and Canadian Commercial Corp. (CCC) fall through.

“Are there other suppliers if the Canada deal will not push through? Yes, there are,” Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a message Friday night.

He, however, did not mention these possible suppliers.

Lorenzana made the statement in the wake of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order to the military to cancel the PHP12-billion contract for the 16 Bell 412 EPIs following reports that Canada would review the purchase of the aircraft on the grounds that they might be used in operations against rebel groups.

As of Friday night, Lorenzana said he has yet to receive any order regarding the President’s directive.

“I have not heard about cancelling. As of now, I am optimistic that it would proceed and the choppers will be delivered on time,” the defense chief said. PNA