By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
AMMAN, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — Jordan has agreed to provide the Philippines with two Cobra attack helicopters after the training of Filipino pilots.
The information was confirmed by Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go in a text message to the Philippine media delegation in Amman.
Go said that the second-hand helicopters will be turned over to the Philippine government in July 2019 after the training of Filipino pilots.
He also said that the Jordanian government will also donate to the Philippines mortars, rifles, rocket-propelled grenades.
The confirmation about the donation came after the Philippines and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation between the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Department of National Defense of the Philippines.
Jordan’s donation came despite Duterte’s criticism on the King’s cousin, Jordan Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Husein, when the former United Nations Human Rights high commissioner recommended that the Philippine President should undergo a psychiatric check when the President slammed the International Criminal Court’s decision to launch a preliminary examination on his drug war.
Duterte had also slammed Zeid for criticizing him but later on changed his tune when he found out that Jordan has decided to donate two attack helicopters. He also said that National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon advised him to “shut up.”
“I would have wanted to but Esperon said, ‘Do not do it. Maybe, mayor, if you can swallow insults. You are throwing curses, epithets and all, “di rin sila makaganti (they can’t get back at you either). This time I am asking you to shut up,” he said.
Esperon also confirmed that he advised both Duterte and his spokesperson Harry Roque to stop speaking against Zeid, especially when Roque said that Jordan’s leaders are not “democratically elected.”
Esperon had said that each Cobra helicopter costs US$18 million. He earlier said that aside from the choppers, Jordan will donate sniper rifles and armored tankers which could be used to boost the Philippines’ defense capabilities.