Friday, September 5, 2014

AFP acquires P1.9-B worth of US-made rifles

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – The Armed Forces of the Philippines has acquired P1.9-billion worth of brand-new assault rifles from a United States-based company to beef up its forces as part of its modernization program and in spite of the “missing rifles” scandal.    

          An initial 100 of these units were given out in this military camp Thursday afternoon, with 27,200 more to be distributed within this month and another 12,000 in December, according to AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang.   

          Catapang said the new rifles, involving 5.56mm M4 rifles, form part of the joint Philippine Army-Philippine Marine Corps Assault Rifles Acquisition Project (PAPMPCARAP) of the government.

          Catapang was assisted by 7th Infantry Division commanding general, Brig. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, during the turn-over of the initial 100 units at the firing range here to troops from the Light Reaction Regiment (LRR) of the Special Operation Command (Socom) and 79th Infantry Battalion under 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) who have undergone the Battalion of Excellence (BOC) training.

          Catapang said the Army is set to receive a total of 44,186 units while another branch, the Philippine Navy, will get 6,443 units.

          The funds for the weapons were sourced from the AFP Capability Upgrade Program of 2012. The US-based Remington Outdoor Company won the public bidding in October last year.

          “This weapons program will contribute significantly to the transformation of the AFP into a multi-mission oriented force capable of confronting both internal and external threats,” Catapang said.

          The heavy-barreled, full automatic, wear-resistant rifles will replace the old, worn-out M16A2 assault rifles.

          Comparatively, the M4 Carbine rifle is lighter, shorter, more cost-efficient and can reach a target up to 600 meters. In contrast, the M16-A1 rifle’s maximum ceffective range is only up to 460 meters.          

Catapang said they chose to give these new rifles to field soldiers because they are the front liners and “so we must assure that they are fully equipped in every encounter.”

He stressed that soldiers should live with the paradigm “kawal disiplinado, bawal abusado dapat asintado (disciplined soldier, no to abusiveness and must be a sharpshooter).” Manny Galvez)

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