Purchase of 27,000 assault rifles still being processed: Dela Rosa
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Wednesday the transaction for procurement of 27,000 assault rifles from Sig Sauer Inc. is still going on.
Dela Rosa received a letter from Sig Sauer's local supplier, InTrade Asia Pacific Corp., saying the license for the sale is still being processed at the US State Department.
"This request is the result of media reports indicating the license processing may be stalled in the US Senate. Sig Sauer contacted the State Department for the status of the license and was advised earlier today that the license was being processed as normal.," Dela Rosa said in a news briefing Wednesday afternoon, reading excerpts of the letter dated November 1.
It was Dela Rosa's response to a story of Reuters saying the US State Department halted the sale of the M4 assault rifles to the PNP after Democrat Senator Ben Cardin threaten to oppose it amid concerns over alleged human rights violations being committed in the
government's crackdown on illegal drugs.
Dela Rosa said 27,404 rifles were procured for P1.7 billion through an agency procurement request with the Department of Budget and Management. The contract agreement was signed on July 13, 2016 with the first set of delivery by April 2017.
If it pushes through, the deal would have enhanced the firepower of public safety forces like the Special Action Force from five to percent to 86 percent.
Dela Rosa said if the report is true, the move of the US government would not affect their war on illegal drugs.
"Our fight against terrorism will be affected but not our fight against drugs," Dela Rosa said in an interview over dzBB radio.
While no government money was wasted, Dela Rosa expressed frustration if the article is indeed true as they would begin from "zero in the bidding process.”
If what was stated by Reuters is true, Dela Rosa said it's not their loss.
"We are buying and not begging. If they don't want to transact with us, we can look for other manufacturers who can supply us," said Dela Rosa, referring to gun manufacturing companies from Germany , Israel , Belgium , Russia and China .
Dela Rosa chided some "biased" local and international news organizations who are focused on highlighting negative issues about the government's campaign on drugs.
"Let's be frank with each other. There are biased local and international media outlets. They only see bad news while the positive things that are happening because of our war on drugs are not being reported," said Dela Rosa. Emmanuel Tupas/DMS