The US State Department’s cancellation of 26,000 M4 Rifles ordered by the Department of National Defense (DND) might be blessing in disguise for Filipino policemen, as the Philippine National Police is looking to replace the failed negotiation with high-powered IWI Tavor assault rifles from Israel.
Currently, the PNP owns just 342 IWI Tavors used mostly by Special Forces. Now, the ordinary policemen will have the chance to hold the special rifle manufactured by one of the best arms designers in the world – the Israel.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is upset by the US State Department’s reported decision to halt the sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP because of alleged human rights violations in the country amid the government’s bloody war against drugs.
International news agency Reuters reported that Senator Ben Cardin, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was reluctant about the US giving the weapons to the PNP “given concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.”
Recently, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) also cut its ties with the PNP, stopping its training assistance program for Philippine cops due to the government’s ruthless war against drugs that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 individuals.
In his recent state visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his warning to sever ties with the US, a long-time ally of the Philippines, militarily and economically.
PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Saturnino Ocampo said it may take few months to finish the deal with Israel, but it won’t affect much on the government’s continuing war on drugs.
The Tavor is an Israeli bullpup assault rifle chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition with a selective fire system, selecting between semi-automatic mode and full automatic fire mode.
It is produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI). It is produced in three main variants: the TAR-21; the CTAR-21; and the MTAR-21.
Built around a long-stroke piston system (as found in the M1 Garand and AK-47), the Tavor is designed to maximize reliability, durability, and ease of maintenance, particularly under adverse or battlefield conditions.
In 2009, the TAR-21 was selected by the IDF to gradually replace the M16 rifle variants as the standard issued weapon of the Israeli infantry by the end of 2018. The first Tavor (MTAR-21 variant) rifles were issued to infantry units in 2013, replacing the M-16 rifles
The DND is also eyeing to buy AK47’s from Russia, but Ocampo said it would take time to discuss such matter because unlike Israel, Russia has never sold any arms to the Philippines.
Ocampo also added that the deal with Israel is P24 million cheaper than the M4 deal with US, with the same quantity of rifles. /Jenny Zapanta/
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