THE US-based Remington Arms Co. has completed delivery of 56,843 M4 rifles for use of the Philippine Army, an Army official disclosed on Sunday.
Acquisition of the rifles is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, according to Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman.
Hao said the remaining 12,657 rifles were delivered late December last year and will be inspected by the Army’s technical inspection and acceptance committee (TIAC).
As soon as the TIAC gave the go-ahead, the firearms would undergo ballistic tests to be conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The rifles would be issued to Army units immediately after the tests, Hao said.
He added that of the 56,843 rifles bought, 24,300 have been distributed to several Army units in the Visayas and Mindanao and 19,866 are undergoing ballistic tests apart from the remaining 12,657 rifles that will undergo similar tests.
The Army official said M-16 rifles earlier issued to soldiers would be recalled and reissued to reserved forces and militia units.
“They will be used for the reserved forces, Cafgu slowly this year. You will start seeing the reserve units and Cafgu units brandishing the [new]M-16 [rifles]. They will start practicing using [these rifles],” Hao said.
Cafgu stands for Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit.
According to Hao, a soldier equipped with an M-4 rifle speaks of a modern army.
“This is a world-class rifle, and our troops are proud to have [it], this kind of weapon, it will help us, it is lighter but more powerful. [It is] being used by First World armies,” he said.
Earlier, the rifles got entangled in controversy after it was reported that the rear sight of more than 44,000 of them were found by the AFP to be defective.
The “minor” defect has been fixed by gunsmiths of Remington.
Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, also earlier told reporters that the AFP has refused to accept at least 22,000 M4 rifles because of the defective rear sights, but later corrected himself.
Detoyato said an order has been issued to recall some of the rifles particularly those issued to the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.
But he later announced that the defect in 44,186 rifles has been corrected and accepted.
After Detoyato’s disclosure, Nereo Dionisio, head of P.B. Dionisio and Co., the local distributor of Remington rifles and that won the bidding more than two years ago, said correction of the defect began in July 2015.