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No big deal

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo, Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 494
Featured Lacson & De Lima Lacson & De Lima

THERE are other countries that manufacture “better” and probably cheaper assault rifles than the United States.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson stressed this amid a report that the US plans to “halt” the sale of assault rifles to the Philippines.

“Since it’s a planned sale of assault rifles by the US to the Philippines, we do not stand to lose anything except one less gun store to choose from,” said Lacson.

“There is now more reason for our Department of National Defense to revive our self-reliance program so we can produce our own weapons and ammunition and other military hardware,” he said.

Apparently, the US intends to stop the sale of firearms to the Philippine National Police (PNP) due to the mounting and unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of suspected drug dealers and users in the country.

“I have yet to see an investigation with the conclusion that massive and state-sanctioned human rights violations were committed under the present regime’s drive against illegal drugs, so I would take US Sen. Cardin’s statement as his own opinion and nothing more,” said Lacson.
   
The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, led by Sen. Richard Gordon, is set to release next week its report on its inquiry into the killings of drug suspects in relation to the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
   
At least four public hearings were conducted on the matter after Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes filed separate resolutions seeking a probe into the alleged summary executions of drug suspects to determine if these were state-sanctioned.

Sig Sauer supplier
   
In June last year, the PNP opened the pre-bidding for the purchase of the assault rifles and invited accredited police suppliers to participate in the bidding for the supply of 20,482 units of caliber 5.56 basic assault rifle.
   
The Aquino government allocated P1.3 billion for the acquisition of the modern weapons with at least 12 PNP suppliers participating in the pre-bidding held at the PNP conference room in Camp Crame.
   
Journal Group sources including at least one PNP general said that Sig Sauer won the bid to supply the PNP with the assault rifles and that a group of PNP officials are set to go to the U.S. this year to discuss the deal.
   
However, news broke out yesterday that the US State Department halted the planned sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP after Senator Ben Cardin said he would oppose it. 
   
Reuters quoted aides of Cardin, described as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the senator “was reluctant for the United States to provide the weapons given concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.”
   
The relationship between the United States and the Philippines, a long-time ally, has been complicated lately by President Rodrigo Duterte’s angry reaction to criticism from Washington of his campaign promise to rid the country of illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
   
Wikipedia described Sig Sauer rifles as ‘fast gaining a reputation for revolutionary design, exceptional accuracy, engineered reliability and traditional craftsmanship.’
   
Originally started in 1853 by Friedrich Peyer im Hof, Heinrich Moser and Conrad Neher  above the Rhine Falls in Switzerland, the company would become one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers of small arms.
   
At present, Sig Sauer has its plant in Virginia, USA.