AFP to get 50,000 assault rifles under modernization program Tuesday
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be getting more than 50,000 assault rifles worth nearly P2 billion for its troops as part of modernizing the military’s firepower capability.
President Aquino will lead the ceremonial distribution of the 5.56 mm M4 rifles at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday.
In a statement, the AFP said a total of 50,629 rifles were bought from United States-based Remington Outdoor Company, which won the bidding in October 2013.
The contract cost the government around P1.9 billion, which was taken from the 2012 Capability Upgrade Program.
The first 27,300 units will be given to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps. One hundred rifles were delivered on July 5 and 27,200 units were delivered on July 31, while the remaining 23,329 rifles are expected to be delivered in December.
The President, along with defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang are expected to attend the ceremonial distribution.
Catapang said the delivery of the newly bought firearms qApart of the government’s Joint Philippine Army – Philippine Marine Corps Assault Rifle Acquisition Project.
Under this project, the AFP will receive 50,629 M4 rifles, 44,186 of which would be given to the Army and 6,443 to the Navy.
With the actual cost of the contract at P1.9 billion, the AFP said it was able to save P1.2 billion since the initially approved budget for the contract was P3.3 billion.
“The savings will be used to procure additional rifles, thus increasing the readiness rating of the Army and the Marines and at the same time, increasing the level of confidence, morale and pride of every soldier especially those serving in the field,” Catapang said in a statement.
The 5.56mm M4 rifle will supplement and replace the early models of M-16 and M-16A1 rifle, majority of which dated back to the Vietnam War and are in poor condition and in bad need of repair or replacement.
“The AFP’s procurement of these brand new assault rifles is part of the thrust to modernize our armed forces, and start it with the individual foot soldier in the field,” the AFP chief of staff said.
Catapang added that they were optimistic that the new assault rifles would help the AFP be even more capable of addressing internal and external threats as a multi-mission-oriented force.
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