President Rodrigo Duterte is accorded foyer honors upon his arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan on Sept. 5, 2018.
King Rodriguez/Presidential Photos
Jordan to provide Philippines with Cobra attack choppers
Alexis Romero ( - September 6, 2018 - 7:04pm

AMMAN (Updated 8:19 p.m.) — Jordan on Thursday agreed to provide two Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines in a development seen to strengthen Manila's defense capabilities.

Presidential aide Christopher Go said the matter was discussed during the bilateral meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and Jordan King Abdullah II here.

The two helicopters are expected to be delivered in July next year after the training of Filipino pilots, he added.

"Other items will also be included like mortars, rifles (and RPG or rocket-propelled grenades)," Go said in a text message.

Duterte previously said he was asked to refrain from lambasting a cousin of the king who has been critical of the Philippines' war on drugs.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein had said Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist after the Philippine leader scored critics of his war on narcotics. 

Duterte retaliated by calling Zeid "empty-headed." 

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. had asked Duterte to stop attacking Zeid because the Jordanian King was willing to give helicopters to the Philippines. 

Esperon said the second-hand helicopters, which would include spare parts, are expected to strengthen the military's drive against terrorism. He said the training of Filipino pilots who will use the helicopters would start on November. 

Esperon noted that King Abdullah is known for his strong stance against terrorism. He said the giving of the helicopters was also the king's way to repay the good deeds of Filipino workers here. 

"In their household, there are some Filipinos and they have been maintaining them like members of the family so his giving (of helicopters) is really a goodwill measure," Esperon said in a chance interview. 

Deals signed

The Philippines and Jordan also signed five bilateral agreements, including cooperation deals on defense and labor, on the sidelines of Duterte's historic official visit here. 

The signing of the agreements was held before Duterte's bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II. 

The memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation between the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Philippines' Defense department was signed by Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Jordan's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat. 

Esperon said the two countries agreed to enhance defense cooperation through joint training and exchange of information.

The cooperation framework for employment of domestic Workers and the MOU on labor cooperation was signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Jordanian labor minister Mr. Samir Murad. Officials said the agreement would improve the working conditions of about 40,000 Filipino migrants here. 

The MOU between the Jordan Investment Commission and the Philippines' Board of Investments was inked by Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Jordanian Minister of State for Investment Affairs Muhannad Shehadeh. The agreement is expected to boost the two-way trade between Manila and Amman. 

The MoU on political consultations between the Philippine Foreign Affairs department and Jordan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates was inked by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano and Jordan Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Ayman Safadi.

An agreement on seafarers between the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines and the Jordan Maritime Commission was signed by Philippine ambassador Akmad Atlah Sakkam and Jordan Maritime Commission director-general Salah Ali Abu Afifeh. The deal involves the recognition of certificates under the terms of the 1978 Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers Convention.

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