Duterte: 5,000 firearms to be shipped to Philippines by "friendly country"
The Philippines is set to receive 5,000 firearms from a "friendly country" soon, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.
In a speech in Davao City, Duterte said he was not at liberty to disclose where the weapons would come from.
"Our neighbors who are good and despite the boycott in America of our needs we are getting some firearms somewhere. I am not at liberty to divulge it but in the next few days we will have about 5,000 more shipment coming from a friendly country," he said.
Duterte ordered last year the Philippine National Police to cancel the purchase of assault rifles from a US company after an American senator vowed to block it as the weapons could be used to commit human rights violations in the country.
The Duterte administration has been criticized for alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects amid war on drugs.
During the height of the Marawi siege last year, China donated to the Philippines weapons and cache of ammunition.
Duterte said the terrorists in Mindanao have been regrouping.
He said if the situation worsens, he might allow civilians who have military training to bear arms.
"But if things get worse, I will allow the mobilization... of the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) and those guys who have had military training and I will allow you to use, bear the high-caliber firearms," he said.
Duterte said he wants to build a strong Armed Forces and police before he steps down from office by 2022.
"They will have the priority in the purchase of… others will be second in the meantime. Well, of course, we want to have the infrastructure but what would it do good to us if we are a weak nation?," he said.
Duterte reiterated that he ordered the police to create another five to seven battalions of Special Action Forces and the Army to take in about 10,000 more soldiers. Celerina Monte/DMS