DND to talk to Russia over P1.9-B downpayment on scrapped chopper deal
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday said it will initiate a diplomatic dialogue with Russia over the country’s P1.9-billion downpayment that is now at risk of losing after scrapping the helicopter deal with the country just days before the end of the former administration.
In a statement, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the move is concurrent with the formalization of the termination of the contract with a Russian firm for the procurement of 16 units of Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters.
The contract cost was at P12.797 billion, and the government already shelled out P1.9 billion as down payment, according to Andolong.
Andolong said the DND have reconstituted its Contract Termination and Review Committee (CTRC), which will “undertake the appropriate processes and exercise due diligence in formalizing the termination of the project’s contract.”
He also added that the DND is also preparing to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Russian side regarding matters arising from the project’s cancellation including the issue with the downpayment.
“The CTRC will undertake the appropriate processes in the contract termination and will exercise due diligence in the bilateral dialogue that will be conducted in connection with the cancellation of the project. This includes the issue on the down payment,” Andolong told reporters.
The spokesperson reiterated that “changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments” caused the cancellation of the project by the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who now heads the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, said he terminated the deal on June 25, just days before the Duterte administration’s term ended on June 30.
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