MANILA – The government is considering buying Chinook helicopters from the United States after scrapping a contract on the purchase of 16 Russian helicopters.
In an online media forum Monday, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said the cancellation of the contract “is precipitated mainly by the war in Ukraine.”
“While there are sanctions expected to come our way, from the United States and western countries, obviously it is not in our interest to continue and pursue this contract,” he said.
He noted the Chinooks would replace the heavy lift helicopters needed by the country’s armed forces for movement of troops and disaster preparedness.
“I understand the United States has offered to try to come up with a similar amount that we were going to spend with the Russian helicopters. In other words, at a special price,” he said.
The US deal offers maintenance services and helicopter parts, he added.
The military procurement contract was signed in November 2021 under the Duterte administration.
It called for the purchase of 16 Mi-17 Russian military transport helicopters with an additional unit of Soviet era heavy-lift aircrafts to be included at no extra cost.
Earlier, the Department of National Defense said it has formed a committee to formalize the withdrawal from the contract worth PHP12.7 billion or about US$244.2 million.
Romualdez said the government is also looking at getting “a supply of other things that the country may need from Russia to replace the helicopters.”
“As part of the payment of the I think, of about US$38 million that we paid the downpayment for the helicopters,” he added. “So, in exchange for that, we will probably get some of the arms that we may need.” (PNA)