Duterte cancels rifle deal with US, will use money for Mindanao peace process

Duterte cancels rifle deal with US, will use money for Mindanao peace process

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President Rodrigo Duterte signs the Executive Order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañang yesterday. Also in photo are Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and Government of the Philippines (GPH) Peace Implementing Panel Chair Irene Santiago. KING RODRIGUEZ/Presidential Photo

MANILA, November 7, 2016 (PNA) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the cancelation of the purchase of 26,000 M16 rifles that had already been ordered from a US supplier, saying he would rather use the money for the implementation of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The President made the announcement during the signing of the Executive Order on the reconstitution of the BTC in Malacañang yesterday.

The order for about 26,000 M4 assault rifles from the US had already been made but was placed on hold by the US State Department due to concerns by a US senator over alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.

In his speech yesterday, Duterte announced that he has ordered the PNP to cancel the order and said the country will look for cheaper sources.

You know, I would like to announce now that the 26,000 of M16 that were ordered already… I am ordering its cancellation by the police. And we will just have to look for another source that is cheaper, maybe as durable and as good as those made from the place we are ordering them,” he said.

We will not insist on buying expensive arms. We can always get them somewhere else. So kalimutan na nila. Sabi, it would be arriving in July of 2017. I am ordering the police to cancel it,” he added.

The President said there is no need to rush the rifle deal anyway since “we have no enemy.”

Hindi natin kailangan. And you know why? ‘Yang baril na ‘yan bilihin ko? Sino patayin ko diyan? Wala naman tayo kalaban. Tayo-tayo lang nagpapatayan dito… So, what do we get? Because if you buy that, we have to buy bullets. And if you have the bullets… para patayin mo lang kapwa mo Filipino. Or kapwa mo Moro, o kapwa mo Christian,” he said.

Duterte said the money will instead be used for the Mindanao peace process.

I will just cancel it, contribute it to the success of the reinvigorated Bangsomoro Transition Commission. Let us just have a moratorium on violence and maybe we can use the money for some other endeavors,” he said.

(With Cielito M. Reganit/PNA)




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