Weeks after ditching the idea of buying more than a dozen Russian helos, the Philippines is now considering purchasing and employing the US-made heavy-lift Chinook helicopters.

US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson told reporters last Friday that Washington has granted Manila $100 million in foreign military financing to help aid its military modernization efforts and boost the defense capabilities of its longest ally in Southeast Asia.

In August, the Philippines canceled its helicopter deal with Russia to buy 16 Mi-17 military transport helicopters just days before the end of Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term as the head of state. The former president, throughout his term, has established a reputation of being a staunch critic of the US government, leaning most of his foreign policy towards China.

Last week, the United States granted one of its longest allies in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, $100 million in foreign military funding, intended to boost the latter’s military modernization efforts and defense capabilities. The move has been a one-eighty under the new administration that strive to improve defense ties with the West superpower in contrast to the previous president, Rodrigo Duterte, who leaned and favored most of his foreign policy towards China.

The son of late Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Sr met with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month and discussed strengthening ties, highlighting “their support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” according to Reuters.

Going back, Carlson stressed that the US will “not dictate” to its ally how it would modernize its armed forces, proceeding to thank “the Philippines for making the decision, especially in the wake of Russia’s illegal attack and unprovoked war in Ukraine, to cancel the helicopter deal.”

She explained: “As [Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin [3rd] announced in Hawaii, as I reiterated last Friday, the US State Department has now notified [the US] Congress its intent to make available to the Philippines $100 million for military financing to be used for defense modernization according to the needs of the Philippine national defense in conjunction with the ongoing consultations that we have throughout the year between our militaries on what makes sense, what programs are available.”

Nonetheless, the envoy recommended that Manila could use the military financing “to offset that helicopter purchase for example.”