MANILA�- In fulfillment of his promise to Filipino soldiers, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday turned over 3,000 units of caliber .45 pistols to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a simple ceremonies held in MalacaAang.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo AAo received the A2 Tac Ultra FS-Armscor pistols on behalf of the military.
According to a Palace press release, the pistols were acquired through the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management under the negotiated procurement mode with ARMSCOR Global Defense Inc., pursuant to Section 53.2 (emergency cases) of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act. No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.
Duterte has promised during his visits to various military camps throughout the country that he would provide pistols to the 120,000 soldiers of the AFP within his term.
The President has repeatedly emphasized the need for military personnel to have handguns that they can use to protect themselves and their families from threats coming from the enemies of the state, especially after actual military operations or whenever they are outside military camps and even during their authorized rest and recreation period.
In his speech during the turnover rites, Duterte said he wanted uniformed personnel of the AFP to have pistols aside from their rifles to be on equal footing with the enemies of the state, even when they are outside the military camps.
Noon pa nakikita ko, I was just wondering, bakit ang Army walang baril na sidearm? Maliit pa ako, I'm just wondering. And I would speculate what will happen if the rifle jams or pagka nasira. For whatever reason, anong gagamitin nitong mga 'to? the President said.
He said that even during his 23 years as mayor of Davao City, he had observed that soldiers are not allowed to bring their firearms outside of the camp.
Ang problema kasi nitong military, unang- una, though no fault of yours, labas kayo ng kampo, wala man kayong baril. Then you go to the town proper, you go there, maybe you drink and you enjoy. Pag-uwi ninyo, inaabangan kayo ng mga NPA (New People's Army), the President said.
Ang ayaw ko doon, 'yung patayin nila ang tao na walang armas. Walang kalaban-laban. So sabi ko, hindi pwede ito. Kailangan ko talaga to place my soldiers on equal footing with them. Kasi sila (rebels), nakakadala ng armas, sidearms. Eh maiwan nila (soldiers) 'yung M16 nila. So, I decided, sabi ko na bigyan ko kayo lahat ng sidearms, Duterte said.
On the other hand, President Duterte said that while he wanted soldiers to carry pistols outside of their official duty, he reminded them to always practice discipline.
I am not in favor of the rule that you cannot bring your sidearm outside of your camp residence. I will overrule that kind of regulations because it is stupid, he said.
Ang panlaban lang talaga ninyo is not to let anybody know na may baril ka. Huwag mong i-display 'yan kasi kukunin talaga 'yan sa iyo. Sa mga NPA 'yan --- ano 'yan eh, parang irresistible force. Hahanapan ka talaga ng paraan niyan, Duterte said.
He also urged them not to use their guns on fellow security forces and on civilians.
At huwag kayong makipag-away --- 'yang mga kapulisan diyan kay numero uno rin 'yan. Walang ginawa kung hindi mag-inom diyan sa bar. I hope that this would go a long way para magbuo 'yung maski saan. Just do not use it against innocent civilians, Duterte said.
Source: Philippine News Agency