Marcos affirms recall of Russian chopper deal | Inquirer News

Marcos affirms recall of Russian chopper deal

Bongbong Marcos ignores calls for DOJ chief Boying Remulla to quit russia deal

FILE PHOTO: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

President Marcos will not reverse the decision of the Duterte administration to cancel the Philippine government’s P12.7-billion deal with Russia to purchase 16 military heavy-lift helicopters.

Speaking to reporters after attending a business event in Manila on Thursday, the President said the previous administration had already determined that “the deal will not carry through, will not go on.”


“We have secured an alternative new supply from the United States through the manufacturer Poland,” Mr. Marcos told reporters. “In any case, there is already a replacement,” he said.


Unfortunate development

According to him, it was “unfortunate” that the Philippines had already made a down payment for the helicopters, but he said “we are hoping to negotiate to get at least a percentage of that back.”

“The deal, as it stood may be at the beginning or in the middle of last year, has already been canceled and we have secured another alternative supply for those helicopters that we need,” he said.


But the Philippines has yet to formally inform the Russian government of its decision to terminate their contract, according to Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov.

“Officially speaking, the embassy didn’t receive any official communication through the very known channel, for example the diplomatic note. We didn’t receive any note on this very important issue. We are waiting,” Pavlov told reporters in an interview at his residence in Makati City on Wednesday.

Down payment spent

According to him, the Russian government still considers the contract “valid.”

“I’d like to affirm that the Russian side is continuing to fulfill all obligations regarding this contract,” he said.

Pavlov added that the production of helicopters is ongoing using the P1.9-billion down payment deposited by the Philippines in January.

“The down payment was made for the start of the assembly operation, so we continue to assemble. Because we received the amount of the money therefore we’re fulfilling all the contractual obligation,” he said.

Notices served, but pending

He added that they did not make any step even upon hearing about Manila’s decision to cancel the deal, stressing that they were still waiting for the official declaration.

The Department of National Defense, however, said it has notified the Russian government of its intent to cancel their contract but the deal has yet to be officially terminated.

Defense spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong told reporters on Thursday that the formal notice was served in June and September.

Former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in July that he had canceled the deal in June before the Duterte administration ended on June 30, out of concerns of possible economic sanctions from the United States due to its conflict with Russia over its war on Ukraine.

“There were communication exchanges between the two parties, but there is no progress yet because we are waiting for their response on certain issues … This is part of the process of termination,” Andolong said. Both parties have yet to meet in person.

$100-M facility from US

Acting Defense Secretary Jose Faustino Jr. said in late September that they have been facing difficulties to refund the P1.9-billion down payment made in January but they are exerting efforts through diplomatic channels.

US ambassador MaryKay Carlson, for her part, on Monday said they were grateful to the Philippine government’s decision to cancel the deal “especially in the wake of Russia’s illegal attack of unprovoked war in Ukraine.”

She said the state department has proposed allocating $100 million in foreign military financing for the Philippines next year, more than twice the $40-million financing it provided to the Philippines in 2022. This can be used to offset the canceled helicopter purchase, she said, although they “would not dictate the modernization efforts within the Department of National Defense.”

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READ: Scrapped chopper deal: Bye to P2 billion?

TAGS: deal, Duterte, helicopter, Marcos, Russia

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