President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he cancelled the procurement of 26,000 assault rifles from the United States.
Duterte said that the Philippines would just have to look for other sources for firearms in a speech that he delivered after signing the executive order constitution and expanding the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.
“I would like to announce now that the 26,000 of M-16 that was [sick] maybe ordered or were ordered already, I am ordering its cancellation sa pulis. We will just have to look for another source that is cheaper and may be as durable and as good as those made from the place we’re ordering them. We will not insist on buying expensive arms. We can always get them somewhere else. So kalimutan na nila, sabihing it could be arriving in July of 2017,” Duterte said.
The President said that he would not be purchasing anything that would just promote violence to the Filipinos.
“I am ordering the police to cancel it. Hindi natin kailangan. You know why? Ay bakit? Why should we hurry it? ‘Yung baril na ‘yan bilihin ko? Sinong patayin ko niyan? Wala naman tayong kalaban. Tayo-tayo lang nagpapatayan dito. So why we have to hurry? I don’t have to hurry,” he added.
Last week, a Reuters report cited sources that mentioned US Senator Ben Cardin’s opposition to selling firearms to the Philippine National Police because of human rights violation concerns of Duterte’s war on drugs.
The US State Department and President Barack Obama also expressed their concern lately about the drug-related killings in the Philippines ever since Duterte stepped into office.
Moreover, US Senator Patrick Leahy also said US assistance to the Philippines maybe stopped if the death tolls continue to arise because of this war on drugs.
US Senator Patrick Leahy was the author of the Leahy Law, a law that makes sure that the US is not complicit in human rights violations committed by countries that are assisted by them.