No cancellation for PNP's P435-million Bell helicopter contract

MANILA, Philippines – While the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has dropped a P12-billion deal to buy Bell helicopters from Canada, the Philippine National Police (PNP) expects its P435-million contract for one helicopter to push through.

"As far as we are concerned, our chopper will be delivered as scheduled. If not, we will file for liquidated damages," PNP Director for Logistics Chief Superintendent Jose Maria Victor Ramos told Rappler in a text message on Tuesday, February 13.

The PNP awarded the P435-million contract to Bell on June 20 last year, after the company presented the "lowest calculated and responsive bid" for a rotary twin-engine aircraft.

According to Ramos, there are no orders from President Rodrigo Duterte to scrap their deal just like the AFP's. Police and military officials held a joint command conference with the President on Monday, February 12, in Cebu.

Ramos explained that their contracts differ.

The AFP engaged in a government-to-government pact, dealing with the state-run Canadian Commercial Corporation to purchase helicopters.

But amid concerns over human rights, Canada ordered a probe into the deal, vexing Duterte so much that he abruptly canceled the contract.

"Do not buy anymore from Canada and the US because there is always a condition attached," the President earlier said. (READ: PH looks to Russia, China for new choppers after dispute with Canada)

In contrast, the PNP had dealt with Bell directly by calling for an open bidding.

The PNP's helicopter is set to arrive in the Philippines by June. It is unclear whether the police will deploy it for counter-insurgency efforts. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.