Dela Rosa: China 'might' give PNP rifles


Dela Rosa: China 'might' give PNP rifles

Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa says the possible gift from China comes with no strings attached

Bea Cupin

Published 6:40 PM, May 17, 2017

Updated 6:40 PM, May 17, 2017

FREE RIFLES? Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa says China might just give new rifles to the PNP. File photo by Lito Boras

MANILA, Philippines – Why worry about the United States when there’s China?

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday, May 17, said the Philippines may no longer need to buy new rifles from a US-based company because China “might” give over 23,000 M4 assault rifles.

“Hindi na tayo bibili. Bibigyan na nga tayo. Baka bibigyan tayo ng 23,000 na M4. Bigay, so walang bayad. Tanggapin dahil walang bayad,” Dela Rosa said in a chance interview with reporters.

(We won’t buy anymore. We’ll be given rifles. We might be given 23,000 M4 rifles. It’ll be given, so it’s free. We’ll accept it because it’s free.)

The development comes after two American senators filed a bill to restrict arms exports to the Philippines. The PNP, which Dela Rosa has headed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, wants to purchase over 27,000 rifles from an American company. But US companies must first inform Congress through the State Department when selling to foreign entities.

US Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, a ranking member of the US Senate foreign relations committee, earlier said he would block the sale. Cardin is also co-sponsor of the bill that would restrict arms exports to the Philippines.

Dela Rosa recently accompanied Duterte during his visit to Beijing for a forum on China’s massive economic plan, the Belt and Road Initiative.

“I have not signed any agreement but I was just informed na bibigyan tayo ng mga M4. Kailangan natin ‘yan dahil ‘yung mga police station natin sa countryside, sa far-flung areas na-overrun ng mga NPA (New People’s Army) dahil sa kakulangan ng armas,” explained Dela Rosa.

(I have not signed any agreement but I was just informed that we will be given M4s. We need those because our police stations in the countryside, in far-flung areas are being overrun by the NPA because we lack firearms.)

While he was unable to give further details, Dela Rosa said it would be a “government to government” deal.

He added that China was not asking for anything in exchange for the firearms.

Back in October 2016, Dela Rosa also joined Duterte on a visit to China. He returned home with 115 “boxes of equipment” which included vests and monitoring tools.

Relations between the US and the Philippines have hit snags since Duterte took office. The Philippine President has repeatedly lashed out at US officials, including former president Barack Obama, for supposedly meddling in the country’s affairs.

American officials, meanwhile, have expressed concern over Duterte’s war on drugs, which the PNP leads. The US was also among the 45 countries that called for an end to extrajudicial killings linked to the drug war.

Duterte threatened to cancel the annual joint military exercises between Filipino and American troops, but he eventually relented.

In stark contrast, Duterte has been friendly toward China, seeing it as key to boosting the Philippines’ inadequate infrastructure. China has also expressed support for Duterte’s drug war.

Surveys show the US remains the most trusted foreign country among Filipinos. Russia and China still have the lowest trust ratings among Filipinos, but their numbers have improved since Duterte took office. –