Bato saddened by scuttled arms deal of PNP with US
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is upset by the US State Department’s reported decision to halt the sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP because of alleged human rights violations in the country amid the government’s bloody war against drugs.
“PNP chief Dela Rosa is saddened by the report that the US State Department is planning to stop the selling of M4 assault rifles the PNP is buying from America,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement on Tuesday.
Should the US decide to pull the plug on the arms deal, Carlos said the PNP will have to look for other sources of firearms.
International news agency Reuters reported that Senator Ben Cardin, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was reluctant about the US giving the weapons to the PNP “given concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.”
Recently, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) also cut its ties with the PNP, stopping its training assistance program for Philippine cops due to the government’s ruthless war against drugs that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 individuals.
In his recent state visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his warning to sever ties with the US, a long-time ally of the Philippines, militarily and economically.
“The purchase has undergone the purchase proceedings and contract has been awarded to the winning bidder. They are offering the Sig Sauer M4 assault rifles made in USA but Sig Sauer is a European brand,” Carlos said.
But he said the PNP has yet to receive official notice from the US and the arms supplier.
‘Outdated, defective’ guns
For a senior police official, the acquisition of 26,000 to 27,000 rifles from the United States is an “urgent matter” for the police force.
The ranking official, who requested anonymity, told INQUIRER.net, that the procurement is important for the PNP because some cops on the ground have been using defective and outdated guns.
“We really need those rifles because the firearms we are using are really, really outdated, and most of them, are defective,” the official said.
Fortunately, he said the government has engaged in peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“It’s good that we have ongoing peace talks with the Communists. The latest development on the peace talks is favorable for us but there are other threat groups that we have to contend with also and we need good firearms for our policemen,” he said.
The official said the rifles from US are intended for police mobile forces and safety battalion units, particularly the Special Action Force (SAF), Public Safety Battalion and Special Weapons and Tactics units.
Members of PNP’s mobile forces and safety units are issued M16 and M4 rifles for their “interoperability and interchangeability.”/rga
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