US halts arms sale to Manila

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THE strained relations between the Philippines and the United States became evident when Washington terminated its plan to sell firearms to Manila.

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A Reuters report said Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat in the Senate foreign relations committee, blocked the deal to sell some 26,000 to 27,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Citing Senate aides, the report added that the official opposed the provision of weapons to the Philippine police because of increasing concerns on human rights violations.

Cardin and Sen. Patrick Leahy earlier said the US Congress will take the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte into account when deciding on the grant of assistance to Manila for the current fiscal year.

The arms deal was halted after the Senate foreign relations committee informed the State Department that Cardin opposed the transaction during the department’s pre-notification process for the sale of weapons.

Duterte had kept up a string of verbal attacks against the US. When he visited China last month, he announced his “separation” from the US.

The President had been criticized by the US and United Nations for his tough anti-drug campaign that had left thousands of drug suspects dead.

Records showed that since July 1, over 4,700 drug suspects have been killed and 1,700 of these were slain during legitimate police operations.

The government, however, maintained that it does not tolerate extrajudicial executions.

The San Francisco Police Department earlier announced that it is ending its 16-year training program with the PNP because of concerns on allegations of civil rights violations in the Philippines.

US law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been providing equipment, training and intelligence to the PNP for years.

Not worried

Senators, however, were not worried by the decision of the US State department to stop the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP.

“Since it’s a planned sale of assault rifles by the US to the Philippines, we do not stand to lose anything. There are tens of other countries that manufacture better and probably cheaper assault rifles than the US,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a text message.

Lacson, who heads the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, noted that he is yet to see an investigation with the conclusion that massive human rights violations were committed by the police during implementation of an intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

“So I would take US Sen. Cardin’s statement as his own opinion and nothing more,” the senator said.

The State department’s move, according to Lacson, justified the need for the country to revive its self-reliance defense program (SRDP) to enable the Philippines to produce its own military hardware.

The RSDP was implemented during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos through Presidential Decree 415 issued on March 19, 1974.

The main purpose of the proclamation was to enable the Philippines to develop a local defense industry that can supply the materiel requirements of the Defense department.

The program, however, did not take off because the companies that participated allegedly got involved in corruption.

Another plan to revive the SRDP was raised during the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“There is now more reason for our Defense department to revive our self-reliance program so we can produce our own weapons and ammunition and other military hardware,” Lacson said.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd also was not bothered by the decision of the State department.
Instead, he questioned Washington’s double standard on the human rights issue.

Sotto said more than 1,000 people were killed last year in the Mexican drug wars but the US was silent about it.

“Dito one thousand plus lang ang dami na nilang sinasabi [Here only one thousand plus [were killed]and yet they [US] were saying many things already,” Sotto pointed out.

He said the Philippines can acquire weapons from Israel.

But to Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, the US decision to stop the arms sale was a way to show that it is slowly flexing its muscles.

But Ejercito, like Lacson and Sotto, said the country can buy weapons elsewhere.

“There will be other opportunities. The US does not have monopoly of good firearms manufacturers. The PNP can now look at Israelí, Austrian or German made high-powered rifles, which are even superior,” he said in a text message.

Sen. Leila de Lima said the US action was expected.

“The Duterte administration saw this coming and of course was most probably indifferent to its consequences as its social media support groups and fake news sites will now drum this up as an opportunity to be independent of the US, and its support weapons supplies and technology,” de Lima added.

She maintained that Duterte’s so-called independent positioning is hollow and would only lead to the further isolation of the country from its allies in the region like Japan, Australia and South Korea.

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34 Comments

  1. this is American double standard – think of the iran-contra deal about selling weapons to iran for iran’s assistance for the freedom of 7 American hostages, and to finance the rebels in Nicaragua, the operation fast and furious, about selling guns to Mexican drug cartels

  2. I am very happy my government here in the USA cancelled this sale. Even my company has cancelled purchases of equipment from Philippines. So please, Duterte — you are cussing again, only a week after saying you would not cuss anymore. You said God told you He would kill you if you cuss again. I recommend counseling and psychiatric care, because you can not control your mouth.

  3. Vagoneto Rieles on

    President Duterte must have known, (or expected), this reaction from the U.S., and must have prepared for it. I just hope that his calculus on alternative sources and partnerships are right.

  4. Why get worried by the decision of the US State department to stop the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP ?
    Wowowow ???
    To whom are these assault rifles intended for use ? Isn’t it the government is already pursuing a peace negotiations with the rebel groups NPA and Muslim separatists ? Do we need those US made hi tech equipment for the 20,000 or 30,000 illegal drug users/pushers/lords that need to be eliminated as per the president? most of them our kababayans Filipinos ? Do you need hi tech weapons for this purpose ?

    One Filipino killed by each assault rifles firing from 26,000 PNP soldiers will be 26,000 Filipinos families multiplied by just 10 family members is 260,000 Filipinos in angry moods. This simple arithmetic is just for one encounter per PNP soldier. You can do your own multiplier if you too can imagine.

    But I have not read any statistics that shows more than 20,000 Filipino soldiers or Filipino rebels casualties and collateral damage (innocent civilians) included in the past 10 years. Tell me here if you know the exact numbers.

    So the Filipino tax payers will pay for 26,000 assault rifles when in fact only maybe 6,000 of them could be actually be used to its purpose. The other 20,000 assault rifles for the show ? sana ganuon nga… An impossible wish….

    Maybe if we are preparing for an imminent invasion from without…… then proceed.. God forbids…

    • Duterte, is arming AFP and PNP, and doubling their salary, to gain their loyalty, with his plan of changing the govt. system, from democratic system to communist, He got to control the Military, to oppose resistance. Also eight members of his cabinet are members of central committee of the CCP. Making peace with the NPA, and making alliance with China and Russia, Making US the enemy. What does that tell us.

  5. Kasi inutil ang gobyerno ng Aquino simula nuong after EDSA 1 , sinadya nila na hindi magproduce ng military eqiupment at armaments ang ating Dept. of National Defense..Ni isa man lng na baril or assault rifles wala nagawa..
    We made by our selves BABY ARMALITE during marcos time. This is our own products.. It is more powerful than M16 armalites from the USA. We have to make our own aramaments.. Why we have to buy again from foreign countries.???? . Again money is involve. It will be the same as rice importation policy by abnoy …RAT BRAINS..cORRUPT.

  6. Good news! Now the PNP should realize at last that they should procure Philippine made arms only. This will not only boost the local industry but also will help start them develop to become manufacturers of larger military hard wares. I just hope De Lima should not talk, she is not needed.

  7. Sorry folks, if the American government ruled per the will of the people things would be allot different.
    I urge you not to hate all of us for the actions of the few who act on their own accord.

  8. So What??? There are so many other countries that PNP can purchase their needed firearms. Isa pa tong si FVR, nag fi-feeling important, kala mo naman may hatak ka sa tao. Kaya ka lang napansin kse kumampi ka kay duterte. ngayon lumabas ang totoo na tuta ka talaga ng kano, baka kala mo nalimutan na ng pinoy ang mga kinurakot mo nung naka upo ka pa.

  9. Ignacio Balbutin on

    it will be more of a problem if the US will close down all its companies in the Philippines and more catastrophic if the US will decide to send home all the the 3 to 4 million filipinos in the US. Can the Philippines absord the impact of all these? surely the country will suffer, what job can it provide to the 4 million pinoys fi the US decides to send them home?

    • Eleanor Amores on

      Citizenship is acquired through immigration requirements and not acquired because the President of US is a friend of the President of the Philippines. Deportation is a result of an individual’s wrong action and definitely not because of the mouth of the President of the country where they originally came from!…. only idiots can think this way.

  10. Daniel B. Laurente on

    We need to produce our country’s own gun manufacturing. Our gunsmith are very much good at that. Sila nga walang sumpak. Besides their rifles are the most devil on earth, the only death instrument on earth coming from USA who has killed a lot of humans but never brought to ICC, but never won a single battle unless the bombs are drop to annihilate the entire pupulation of a place. China never did in its entire history. Their American arms are no match ( unless they use by massive scale) to Chinese supplied arms to Vietcongs. Maybe, by star wars and flying death instruments they are superior. Our country has no intention of having it becuase of our financial constrainst and also our country is not involved in subjugations of another country and no imperialistic design. We can live in a simple way of existence.

  11. America supplied all kinds of weapons in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the middle east,. Waring militias in those nations are killing each other with weapons they supplied. Assault rifles for export are not as good as what is issued to GI Joe hmmm .A military tactic Just in case the clients abroad become their enemies , Germany, France and Israel make better and perhaps even cheaper assault rifles.

  12. The cursing from one fouled mouth that went around the world, as the saying goes, don’t make waves. We just hope, that mouth, won’t do anymore damage, to Filipinos. We are trying to avoid a war with China, why pick a fight with US, it doesn’t make any sense.

    • Wow, the author cited that the reason for blocking the sale was due to “perceived” human rights violation. And your saying “cursing” as the reason? Not only are we prejudiced in the US, our very own is prejudiced against us. Utak talangka, utak alipin.

  13. Other world powers are also producing quality weapons like Germany and Russia but please do not buy China made weapons, we cannot guarantee its quality.

    • You are still under the spell of decades of Western propaganda mouthing bad things about China.

      Times have changed and China have progressed much to the resentment of the US

  14. WHY WORRY, ITS TIME TO MANUFACTURE ASSAULT RIFLES FOR OUR COUNTRY’S NEEDS. WE CAN DO IT, ITS BEEN DONE BEFORE DURING FERDINAND MARCOS TIME. OUR VERY OWN ELISCO COMPANY FILIPINO OWN, GOVERNMENT OWN CAN DO IT. WHY ITS BEEN THE WAY BEFORE.

    its time to manufacture our own assault rifles, yes we can do it, in 1977 i was issued an M16 rifle and my other co-battalions members of the 55th PC Bn, its brand new and very capable, it did not malfunctions while I used it during my assignment in combat area in many places of sulu and basilan, you know who manufacture the said M16 assault rifle, its the ELISCO. nOW WE CAN DO THAT MANUFACTURE OF M4 RIFLE, IT ONLY REQUIRE INSTRUCTION OF PDU30, just like PFM that is why we have an ELISCO the much better rifle made from singapore and US

    • I fully agree with your Sir. At this day in age and with the pool of talent we have, we can achieved this. Kung yung danao eh nakakagawa ng paltik, what more kung gubyerno mismo ang gagawa. All that is need is the will power and strick guidelines and implementation. Tama po kayo, natatandaan ko yang ELISCO, Elizalde yata po yan.

  15. This is just the start. Next will be the BPO, millions will be out of work. The power of the US is more on economic and second military. The increasing dollar outflow shows that the US is moving out. Next is our sugar , coconut export. Yes we can live independently but millions of our kababayan will suffer and go hungry . The worst scenario is what happen to China were millions die because of starvation. China during Mao regime is an independent state without any outside help. Is that what we want ?

    • Well you can go to the USA and stay there. The country do not need people like you who want to be a “lap dog” of a Country just because they have the power.

    • Filipinos are already hungry if you will understand our counrty’s situation. Even we are with America, its just the name US’ is so big echo to hear. And we cant say our self (country) independent if we are not moving forward into other way. Imagine 30 years in minimum ratio with US and still Filipino life is not improving..so it makes no great difference. So called allied but if Filipinos want to go to US…please take your visa first and get it approved, versus Americans just come & go to our country! Too bad & sometime wild Americans also raped our girls. Where those mostly no money victims cant bring to justice because they are AMERICANS.

    • Millions of our kababayan are already hungry, and in case you havent noticed, its much much harder to get into BPOs now than before. The US is just one country, and in terms of BPOs we are world renowned. America’s behavior only validates that we are on the right path with DU30.

    • When the Philippines congress and everyone related to someone steal all the money then it would not matter which country the Philippines aligned with.

      Look at the other allies of the US in SE Asia, all doing much better than the Philippines.

      Why ?

      Their governments don’t steal all the money. Even the US doesn’t have enough money to satisfy the corrupt Filipino’s government, no matter how much is given they just steal it all.

    • IT Professional on

      It seems like you are underestimating the capabilities of Filipinos working on BPO / ITO industry. Foreign investors are here because of our incomparable quality and passion for work – not because of aid.

  16. Once the UN Human Rights group find a probable cause of human rights violation because of number deaths, nobody will sell arms and ammunition to the Philippines.Even Russia and China are to abide if the UN will make that decision, Duterte just underestimate US influence. If Duterte thinks that China will sacrifice their relationship with US for our benefit, he is dead wrong.China and US are number 1 trade partners. Almost everything from clothes, lumber, steel and even little things sold in the US are made in China.

  17. the philippine can get their assualt weapon to other countries like when egypt and india bought their recent weapons from russia. simillarly, western group nations purchased ak 47 assualt weapon that was provided to the kurd rebel in their fight against isis with the objection of turkey.