Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday said the process for the procurement of 27,304 basic assault rifles from the Unites States is still continuing.
“As per letter from Sig Sauer dated November 1, 2016, the export license for the delivery of the rifles is undergoing normal process in the US State Department. Wala pang official na notice confirming the alleged halting of the [sale of the] rifles,” Dela Rosa said at a press conference in Camp Crame.
This was in reaction to news reports that the US State Department halted the planned sale of the rifles to the PNP after US Senator Ben Cardin said he would oppose it over concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.
Dela Rosa read the letter which was in response to the request of the PNP “for status on the export license that Sig Sauer submitted to the US State Department for approval of the sale of rifles to the Philippine National Police.”
“This request is the result of media reports indicating that 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,” the letter read.
Dela Rosa said the procurement of the firearms has an approved budget for the contract of P2 billion and the contract price totaled to P1.7 billion.
He said it was made through Agency Procurement Request (APR) at the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) utilizing the funds from the Capability Enhancement Program (CEP) 2010-2015.
He said the contract agreement was signed on July 13, 2016 and the Notice to Proceed on July 29, 2016 to the winning bidder, SigSauer Inc. represented by Intrade Asia Pacific Corporation for the supply and delivery of the assault rifles with price per unit of about P 64,000.
He said the expected delivery of the SIG M400 rifles is April next year.
“After delivery, the registration process will be undertaken at the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) and Crime Laboratory (CL) and upon acceptance by the procuring entity, delivery to the end-users, the Public Safety Forces, Municipal and City Police Stations (MPS/CPS) and National Support Units (NSUs) of the PNP will commence,” he said.
Dela Rosa added the procurement of the rifles will increase the percentage fill-up for long firearms from 35 percent to 86 percent.
“Thus enhancing the firepower capability of Public Safety Forces and other PNP units involved in the campaign against terrorism, a serious threat to global peace and security,” he said.
The PNP chief appealed to the US senators accusing the Philippine government of committing human rights violations to verify their information and not just accept the reports from ‘biased’ media outlets.
“Please verify properly your reports. Kung gusto ninyo kayo mismo yung pumunta dito, feel it for yourselves anong nangyayari dito. Huwag lang po kayong basta-bastang tumanggap ng mga reports from biased media outlets. Yun ang aking advice sa kanila,” he said.
He said there are biased media entities, not just in the Philippines, but the international outlets as well.
“Prankahan tayo, merong mga biased, hindi lang sa local, pati sa international media outlets, ang nakikita lang nila yung masamang nangyayari,” he said.
He scored the so-called biased media for allegedly highlighting only the bad news and downplaying the good news.
“Yung kabutihan na nangyayari sa Pilipinas na dulot sa nangyari sa war on drugs hindi po nila binabalita, ang binabalita lang nila kung ano yung masama, kahit yung maliit na masamang makita nila, pinapalaki nila. Yung napakalaking kabutihan ngayon, hindi nila pinapakita. That’s how biased these people are,” he said.
Noting that the halting of US firearms procurement came after the San Francisco Police Department, Dela Rosa said the public should not be bothered.
“Kung meron mang (iba pa), we are prepared for that. We cannot be forever dependent on them kung ayaw nila sa atin talaga. Alangan naman, sinisipa ka na tapos gagapang ka pa? No, you have to stand up and be yourself,” he said.
“Kung wala na tayong armas, wag kayong mag-alala dyan. Your policemen are willing to fight the criminals with our bare hands. Pwede kaming makipag hand to hand combat diyan kung wala kaming baril o bala. Makipagsuntukan kami. Andito kami di namin kayo pababayaan kaya sana tayong mga Pilipino ay magkaisa,” he added.
He called on the people to unite and help build up the image of the country.
“Yung bansa natin nasasaktan, imbis na tayo magsasama, nagkakawatak watak tayo. I-build up natin image natin hindi yung sisiraan natin. Pumunta ka sa ibang lugar sa Metro Manila, they feel safe right now, bakit hindi yan binabalita? Bakit ang binabalita yung pusher na namatay dahil lumaban sa pulis? Dahil sa ikakasira ng administrasyon, ng government, iyan ba purpose natin? Sana magtulungan tayo,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News