Philippines' MANILA (AP) — According to Philippine sources, the Philippine government has canceled an agreement to buy 16 Russian military transport helicopters out of concern for potential U.S. sanctions.
Delfin Lorenzana, a former defense secretary, claimed on Tuesday night that he canceled the purchase of the Mi-17 helicopters for 12.7 billion pesos ($227 million) in a decision made last month and confirmed by then-President Rodrigo Duterte before their terms in office ended on June 30.
Because of America's escalating dispute with Russia, Lorenzana warned The Associated Press that "we could face penalties" if the Philippines went ahead with the agreement.
According to him, American security officials were informed of Manila's choice and might provide the Philippine military with similar heavy-lift helicopters.
After serving as Duterte's defense minister, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. selected Lorenzana to lead a government organization in charge of converting old military installations into commercial hubs.
According to Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to Washington, if the helicopter purchase had gone through, Manila might have been subject to sanctions under a federal law known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
A military official from the Philippines stated that since a contract had already been signed, the helicopter purchase would go through a "termination process" after the decision was made to cancel it. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter, said that while the Russians can appeal, there is not much opportunity for the Philippine government to reconsider.
According to the terms of the November-signed helicopter purchase agreement, Sovtechnoexport of Russia was supposed to deliver the first batch of the multipurpose helicopters in around two years.
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