24 Juli 2014
Bell Helicopter Textron Canada UH-1 helicopter (photo : militaryphotos)
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Canadian Trade Minister Edward Fast discussed the two countries' increasing defense cooperation as well as a helicopter project.
Gazmin and Fast highlighted the recently signed contract for $105 million (P4.5 billion) for firm Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd. to supply eight specialized helicopters for the Philippine armed forces.
"This contract is an outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Department of National Defence of the Philippines," a statement released by the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada said.
The agency said Fast expressed Canada's continuing interest in assisting the Philippines advance its defense and security agenda.
The Philippines is gearing to attain a minimum credible defense posture especially in the maritime domain amid concerns on China's increasing militarization in Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.
In February, the Philippines and Canada also signed an agreement seeking to improve capabilities of Filipino soldiers by providing them training opportunities.
Another Canadian firm, Eagle Copters Ltd. in a joint venture with American company Rice Aircraft Services Inc., bagged a deal with Manila to supply UH-1 combat utility helicopters in December 2013.
The Canadian minister, meanwhile, said that the deal highlights Canada's capabilities as manufacturer and supplier in the defense and security sector.
Fast led a trade mission in the Philippines from July 21 to 22, focusing in opportunities in agriculture, defense, information and communications technology sectors.