Prefer Made in US, Philippines Cancels Purchase of 16 Russian Mi-17 Helicopters
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confirmed that the Philippines had canceled its deal with Russia for the purchase of 16 military heavy transport helicopters. He also said his government had obtained alternative supplies from the United States (US).
The agreement to buy 16 Mi-17 helicopters was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte last year. Before the end of his term in June, Duterte canceled the contract over fears of possible Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Philippines Department of National Defense announced in August that it was formalizing the termination of the deal, which was worth about 12.7 billion pesos (USD215 million). “It was determined by the previous administration that the deal would not be implemented, it would not continue,” Marcos told reporters during an interview at the Manila Hotel, as quoted by Arab News, Friday (21/10/2022).
“The deal with Russia was for some heavy lift helicopters, and now we have got alternative supplies from the United States,” he continued. He also said the planes seized from Washington would be manufactured in Poland.
Marcos’ remarks came after Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov said Manila should respect the helicopter deal, which is a “very important issue” for Philippines-Russia relations.
“We are ready to fulfill all our obligations as a reliable partner with the Philippine side in the field of technical and military cooperation, and we assume that the Philippines will also do so,” Pavlov told reporters. He said Moscow had not received official notification from Manila of its decision to cancel the deal.
The Philippine Department of National Defense, however, said it had been in touch with Russian aircraft manufacturer Sovtechnoexport regarding the termination of the deal. “This is part of the termination process,” DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong told reporters. The Southeast Asian nation is in the process of modernizing its outdated military hardware after Duterte approved in June 2018 a five-year plan to spend 300 billion pesos to upgrade the military.