President Benigno Aquino III led the ceremonial distribution of newly acquired assault M4 rifles at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday.
Soldiers from the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy were the recipients of the brand new 5.56mm M4 rifles. The new firearms will supplement and replace the early models of M-16 and M-16A1 rifle, which dated back to the Vietnam War.
The awarding of firearms is part of the government’s efforts to modernize the AFP.
In his speech, President said the military can now “depend on their guns, not just their guts,” in serving and protecting the state.
“Sa pagtitipon natin ngayon, pinapatunayan nating tapos na ang panahon kung saan dinadaan na lang sa tibay ng loob at diskarte ang pagtutupad sa tungkulin—tunay ngang kinakalinga ng estado ang mga kawal ng bayan [As we gather today, we are proving that the time of relying on sheer determination and guile in doing the job has ended – truly, the state is taking care of the soldier of the people],” he said.
The acquisition of new firearms is part of the Joint Philippine Army–Philippine Marine Corps Assault Rifle Acquisition Project under the AFP Modernization Program.
Under the project, the AFP will receive a total of 50,629 units of M4 rifles, 44,186 of which will go to the Army and 6,443 to the Navy.
The first 27,300 rifles were delivered in July, while the remaining 23,329 units will be delivered in December this year.
The rifles were supplied by US-based Remington Outdoor Company that won the bidding in October 2013.
President Aquino said his administration was able to generate an estimated P1.2 billion savings from the project as the rifles were acquired for only P1.9 billion. The approved budget for the contract was about P3.3 billion.
The President said the savings will be used to procure another 12,657 assault rifles for the Philippine Army, to be delivered also in December.
The budget for the acquisition of rifles was sourced from the AFP Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) 2012.