President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the Philippines would not push through with its P12.7-billion helicopter deal with Russia as it had already found an “alternative supply” from the US.

In an ambush interview, Marcos Jr. said the deal had been off since the Duterte administration.

“I think…it has already been determined, it was already determined by the previous administration that the deal will not carry through, will not go on,” the president said.

“The deal with Russia was for some heavy-lift helicopters and now we have secured an alternative supply from the United States through the manufacturer Poland. In any case, mayroon na tayong kapalit (we now have a replacement),” he said.

The Department of National Defense announced in August that its procurement of 16 Mi-17 helicopters worth P12.797 billion from Moscow had been canceled due to “changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments.”

Former defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the contract was terminated based on the possible impact of the several sanctions imposed on Russia due to its war against Ukraine.

“The deal as it stood maybe, at the beginning or in the middle of last year, has already been canceled and we have secured another alternative supply for those helicopters that we need,” Marcos Jr. said.

The president said the Philippines would try to retrieve the P1.9 billion downpayment it had made.

“Unfortunately, we made a down payment that we are hoping to negotiate to get at least a percentage of that back,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro