Filipino youth group Anakbayan-Canada: Quash the $233-M chopper deal for human rights violations in Philippines

Once again, Canadian imperialism demonstrates its support to the US-Duterte fascist regime in the Philippines.

Anakbayan Canada, a national democratic organization of Filipino youth and students, denounces the most recent $233-M chopper deal between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The deal, which involves the acquisition of sixteen combat helicopters, will only intensify the violence against the Indigenous and peasant communities. The $234 million deal involves Bell 412 utility helicopters, which are expected to be built by US company Textron Inc.’s plant in Mirabel, Quebec.

This is not the first time Ottawa has colluded with Manila. In fact, this unequal relations is to primarily protect Canadian-owned mining companies scattered across the archipelago. Using disaster aid as Canada’s benevolent face, the Philippines purchased eight Quebec-made helicopters to be used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 2015. Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) showcased the capabilities of the aircraft when the four pairs went into action in central Philippine island of Iloilo in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. A year later, a confidential agreement was signed. The deal was brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation—a Crown corporation that had boosted arms trade with Saudi Arabia, Colombia and other governments with appalling human rights records.

History repeats itself as most recent Ottawa-Manila deal, signed on December 29, 2017, was anchored on the premise the helicopters will be used for “disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport, and utility transport,” according to Global Affairs Canada.

The AFP does not whitewash their purchases. The Philippine government is spending a total of $3-B for its armed forces modernization program until 2022, but putting priority on equipment and armaments for “internal security” operations to defeat “domestic threats” as well protect its maritime borders for five years.

Numerous reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, Philippine human rights organization KARAPATAN have incriminated the AFP and its surrogate paramilitary groups as the perpetrator of direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks on areas in which civilians are present, thousands of killings and torture of activists, and other human rights abuses. The Philippine state continue to sow terror as it sponsors campaign to silence dissenting opposition to the US-Duterte regime.

“It is evident that Canada’s involvement in Philippine military affairs, under the guise of disaster relief, will contribute to the decline of democracy and the rise of fascism in the Philippines. Canada and Trudeau are directly complicit in the potential deaths of the most vulnerable in Philippine society,” said Nicole Sudiacal, Anakbayan Ottawa.

She adds, “It is a direct example of their disregard for human rights in the archipelago. With Duterte’s fascist regime increasing in its violence, the Philippine government has been targeting youth and student activists who oppose the degradation of human rights, which includes militarization of Lumad (Indigenous) communities, and the disastrous extra judicial killings of thousands in Duterte’s unjust drug war.”

The helicopter deal does not serve the interests of the Canadian and Filipino people. It is endorsed by a power-hungry authoritarian and a pretty boy, who, with an ugly foreign policy, represent the exploitative ruling class and imperialists which intends to salvage US-led hegemony in the world.

“Similar to his many promises, PM Trudeau pays lip service to his pronouncement that human rights in the Philippines should be upheld. This new military deal shows the true face of pretty boy Trudeau—an accomplice to murderous Duterte regime. The Canadian government is supplying Duterte’s war against Moro people, Lumad and other national minorities in the Philippines. Canadians should denounce this military deal that will only aggravate the human rights crisis in the Philippines,” said Renz Grospe, Anakbayan Canada.

“Trudeau’s support for the Duterte fascist regime’s “internal security operations” will only further enable more horrific human rights violations committed with impunity. Supplying the military will necessarily incite more violence against Indigenous and other minority communities, who are already the least protected among the population. Empowering a corrupt government waging a war against its own people makes Trudeau and Canada complicit in the continued bloodshed of thousands, simply for the sake of economic interests,” said Beatrice Dimaculangan, Anakbayan Montreal.

“Youth and students in the Philippine diaspora in Canada must directly oppose this blatant violation of human rights and dignity. We must directly target the Canadian government for propping up the Duterte fascist regime, and continue to struggle alongside the Filipino people in their fight for genuine national democracy and a just and lasting peace,” added Nicole Sudiacal.

As an organization concerned with people’s rights, Anakbayan-Canada condemns the helicopter deal between Ottawa and Manila. We demand an all-out withdrawal of Canadian financial, moral, political and military support for the US-Duterte regime’s wars against the Filipino people including the so-called war on drugs, martial law in Mindanao, and counterinsurgency. We call on all our member organizations, human rights organizations and peace advocates to stand up for human rights and take action to oppose the murderous deal between Canada and the Philippines.

From Canada to the Philippines, stop the imperialist war machines!
No to tax dollars for human rights violations in the Philippines!

End state fascism!

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