Arms sale to RP stopped; US slams human rights violations

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THE souring relations between the Philippines and the United States made evident as a US senator indicated he would block the sale of arms to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Senator Ben Cardin, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would oppose it (arms sale) amid concerns on human rights abuses that stemmed from the war against illegal drugs.

More than 2,000 suspected users of illegal drugs have died because of the drug war. President Rodrigo Duterte said between “20,000 and 30,000 more will die” in the drive against illegal drugs because he was losing “2 to 3 police officers a day.”

The US State Department has already stopped the planned sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP, which had been using American-made rifles for so many years.

The Philippine government may procure its arms from China, Russia, Israeli, Austria and Germany. “I am sure our government can procure somewhere else,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

Meanwhile, indignant Filipino senators led by Senators Panfilo Lacson, Vicente Sotto III and Joseph Victor Ejercito said the Philippines could buy its weapons from other countries other than the US.

“There are tens of other countries that manufacture better and probably cheaper assault rifles than the US,” according to Lacson.