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DUTERTE URGES PACQUIAO TO KO VARGAS EARLY


NOVEMBER 2 -President Rodrigo Duterte with Senator Manny Pacquiao.
President Rodrigo Duterte hopes Manny Pacquiao will stop Jessie Vargas in just four rounds. Duterte, a friend and a fan of the Filipino boxing superstar, believes Pacquiao can knock out Jessie Vargas if he is aggressive and fast in the early part of their fight.
“Hindi naman ako boxing expert, but I hope if it does happen, sana madalian,” said the President during a press conference in Davao City after visiting his parents’ graves at the Davao Public Cemetery. (I’m no boxing expert, but I hope if it does happen, it should be in the early rounds). “Kasi if it goes beyond seven to eight [rounds], pagod na iyan. Wala na masyadong [lakas]. I hope he can do it within the first four rounds. Masapol ni Manny iyan, knock down iyan.”  (If it goes beyond seven to eight rounds, he could tire out. He might lose his punching power. I hope he can do it within the first four rounds. Manny can hit him, knock him down.) READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte on U.S. rifles - U.S. started it; China, Russia have 'all we want' [RELATED: Palace welcomes new US envoy]


NOVEMBER 2 -A US-made Remington M4 assault rifle, part of a shipment of around 27,000 the Armed Forces of the Philippines bought in 2014. File photo
President Rodrigo Duterte has assailed the United States over the reported cancelation of the sale of some 26,000 rifles to the Philippine National Police as he stressed that he can source firearms from other countries like Russia and China. Duterte, who has displayed animosity towards the US because of its criticisms against his anti-drug war, dismissed Washington’s supposed refusal to sell rifles as a mere scare tactic. “'Yan lang pantakot niya sa akin? Hindi siya magpabili ng armas? Eh karaming de bomba dito. (That’s their only way to scare me? That they won’t sell firearms? We have several air guns here),” Duterte told reporters during his visit to his parents’ tombs in a Catholic cemetery in Davao City Tuesday night. Duterte echoed the statement Wednesday during the sendoff of Vietnamese poachers in Sual, Pangasinan, where he described the Americans as “crazies” and “monkeys.” READ MORE...RELATED, Palace welcomes new US envoy...

ALSO: US funding cuts loom -Human Rights watch blames Du30’s drug war


NOVEMBER 3 -US Secretary of State John Kerry
HUMAN Rights Watch warned Wednesday that two other US funding programs for the Philippine National Police worth a total of $41 million are at risk because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs. In a statement, the group said this includes $9 million in aid for counter-narcotics and law enforcement programs for 2017 and the $32 million in assistance pledged by US Secretary of State John Kerry in July.HRW Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine said if Duterte’s war against drugs will continue, the Philippines could lose the funding, given the recent announcement of the American government that the $32-million assistance to promote human rights and security is now subject to “rigorous vetting.” “Duterte and [PNP chief Ronald] dela Rosa are now on notice that the bloodletting they have encouraged carries a cost with its longtime ally,” Kine said. Kine made his statement after an unverified reports said that the US government has decided to cancel its planned sale of some 27,000 assault rifles to the PNP due to the increasing concern over human rights violations in the country’s campaign against illegal drugs. READ MORE...

ALSO: DFA YASAY ON U.S. SALE OF RIFLES  - 'Human Rights not a condition for the U.S. deal'


NOVEMBER 3 -YASAY: (
US CONGRESS MAKING OUTSIDE IMPOSITIONS) “I can only hope Senator Cardin knows what he is doing,” Yasay added. “But in a true sense, the war against illegal drugs, terrorism, piracy and violent extremism is America’s war too.” ’ Allegations of human rights violations have never been a condition for mutual commitments of the Philippines and the United States under defense treaties and support agreements, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said yesterday. A Reuters report had said earlier the US State Department halted the planned sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) after Senate committee on foreign relations member Ben Cardin said he would oppose it. The mutual commitments of the Philippines and the US under the Mutual Defense Treaty, EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) and other support agreements are “not conditioned upon any alleged human rights violations but are outside impositions made by the US Congress to rein in the Philippines into submission to their undue inference and demands,” Yasay told the Daily Tribune. The top Democrat opposed the provisions of weapons to the Philippine government given the alleged cases of extrajudicial killings amid President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs. Yasay said the alleged extrajudicial killings “are matters that are vigorously being investigated already.” READ MORE...

ALSO: By Babe Romuladez - Understanding US laws


NOVEMBER 3 -BY BABE ROMUALDEZ
 Our friends at the Philippine National Police have expressed disappointment at the decision of the US State Department to stop the sale of some 27,000 assault rifles to the PNP following the opposition expressed by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who happens to be the top Democrat in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The planned purchase of the M4 assault rifles, which was conceived during the past administration, was conducted through public bidding under the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management, with the contract awarded to the winning bidder last July. Under the US Arms Export Control Act of 1976, the US State Department has a major role in approving major arms sales. However, Section 36(b) provides for notification of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (including briefings on how it will serve US interests) regarding foreign military sales or an international sale of firearms and weapons. READ MORE...


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Duterte urges Pacquiao to KO Vargas early


President Rodrigo Duterte with Senator Manny Pacquiao.

MANILA,
NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (ABS-CBN)  Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News Posted at Nov 02 2016  - President Rodrigo Duterte hopes Manny Pacquiao will stop Jessie Vargas in just four rounds.

Duterte, a friend and a fan of the Filipino boxing superstar, believes Pacquiao can knock out Jessie Vargas if he is aggressive and fast in the early part of their fight.

“Hindi naman ako boxing expert, but I hope if it does happen, sana madalian,” said the President during a press conference in Davao City after visiting his parents’ graves at the Davao Public Cemetery.

(I’m no boxing expert, but I hope if it does happen, it should be in the early rounds).

“Kasi if it goes beyond seven to eight [rounds], pagod na iyan. Wala na masyadong [lakas]. I hope he can do it within the first four rounds. Masapol ni Manny iyan, knock down iyan.”

(If it goes beyond seven to eight rounds, he could tire out. He might lose his punching power. I hope he can do it within the first four rounds. Manny can hit him, knock him down.)

READ MORE...

Duterte said Pacquiao was always good to him even before the latter became a global superstar.

He said that while he was still Davao City mayor, Pacquiao always offered him a couple of tickets for him to watch the fight live abroad.

“Every time he fights, he always say, ‘May dalawang ticket ako Mayor para sa ‘yo.’ Magkaibigan na kami niyan kahit hindi pa s’ya sikat,” said Duterte. (Every time he fights, he would always say, ‘I have two tickets for you, Mayor.’ We’ve been friends even before he became popular.)

Duterte said he had no choice but to turn down Pacquiao’s offer because he was too busy at work.

“Sinabi ko naman wala akong panahon, wala pa akong pera noon. Sabi ko magdasal na lang ako... I'll pray for you,” said Duterte.

“I always pray for him... alam ni Manny ‘yan.”

(I told him, I don’t have time and I have no money to spend to go watch the fight abroad. I told him, ‘I’ll pray for you. I always pray for him… Manny knows that.)


PHILSTAR

Duterte on US rifles: China, Russia have 'all we want' By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated November 2, 2016 - 8:32pm 11 463 googleplus0 0


A US-made Remington M4 assault rifle, part of a shipment of around 27,000 the Armed Forces of the Philippines bought in 2014. File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte has assailed the United States over the reported cancelation of the sale of some 26,000 rifles to the Philippine National Police as he stressed that he can source firearms from other countries like Russia and China.

Duterte, who has displayed animosity towards the US because of its criticisms against his anti-drug war, dismissed Washington’s supposed refusal to sell rifles as a mere scare tactic.

“'Yan lang pantakot niya sa akin? Hindi siya magpabili ng armas? Eh karaming de bomba dito. (That’s their only way to scare me? That they won’t sell firearms? We have several air guns here),” Duterte told reporters during his visit to his parents’ tombs in a Catholic cemetery in Davao City Tuesday night.

Duterte echoed the statement Wednesday during the sendoff of Vietnamese poachers in Sual, Pangasinan, where he described the Americans as “crazies” and “monkeys.”

READ MORE...

“Look at those monkeys, the 26,000 rifles that we are supposed to buy from them, they no longer want to sell. Son of a b***h. We have lots of air guns here. Crazies! Those crazy Americans. Even that one?” the president said.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the US State Department has called off the sale of some 26,000 rifles to the PNP after US Sen. Ben Cardin threatened to oppose it due to human rights issues.

The Duterte administration has been accused of committing human rights violations in its campaign against narcotics, which has so far left more than 3,000 drug suspects dead.

The US, the Philippines’ longtime ally and treaty partner, has expressed concerns over the killings, a move that Duterte viewed as an interference in Manila’s affairs.

Last month, Duterte declared that he is “separating” from the US in terms of the economy and security but later on clarified that he is not severing ties with the superpower.

Officials claimed that the president was merely emphasizing the need for the Philippines to pursue a foreign policy that is more independent from the US.

Duterte said China and Russia are ready to provide the Philippines with the defense equipment it needs.

“The ambassador of Russia said ‘you come here to Russia. We have all that you want,” the Philippine leader said.

“Even China is open. (We can provide you) anything you want. They even sent us brochure,” he added.

'The US started it'

Duterte swore at the US five days after he promised not to curse anymore supposedly after hearing the voice of God.

“I was looking at the skies as I was coming over here. And everybody was asleep snoring. A voice said that you know ‘If you don’t stop, I will bring this plane down now.’ And I said, who is this? Of course, it’s God,” Duterte told reporters Friday night after his three-day official visit to Japan.

“So, I promised God not to express slang, cuss words,” he added.

Duterte clarified, though, at the same press conference that there is “always a time to be foul-mouthed.” Evidently, the president felt that Wednesday’s event was an appropriate time.

“For 50 years, you (US) benefited from my country. All the minerals belonged to you. Even the pineapples…and now you are noisy. Son of a b***ch. L***e,” the president said.

“I am angry. They are the ones who started it,” he added.

Duterte went on to justify his tirades against the US, saying American officials had disrespected him.

“We have a problem. (Do) you have a solution here? If you have, if you want to stick to America, fine,” he said.

“But you have to balance things. We are being disrespected.”

Duterte said in jest that Americans who would encounter problems at sea should not be given assistance.

“If they run out of gas, do not help the Americans. Let them float,” he said.

-------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Palace welcomes new US envoy By Giovanni Nilles (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the move is “very significant” for the US to assign an Asian here, noting it would improve relationships. Presidential Photographers Division/Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is pleased with the appointment of Sung Kim as US ambassador to the Philippines, saying it is a sign that the long-time ally “wants to be on a better cultural footing” with the country.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the move is “very significant” for the US to assign an Asian here, noting it would improve relationships.

“I’m sure it’s some form of a signal that they want to be on a better cultural footing and understanding with Asia. That seems to be right now one of the most obvious, significant reasons why they chose a Korean. Maybe they want to understand us better and be able to relate on better cultural terms,” Abella said in an interview over dzRB yesterday.


Sung Kim is the new US ambassador to the Philippies.

President Duterte and US Secretary of State John Kerry talked about US-Philippine relations during the official’s visit here recently.

“Their talks came out fine and we were observers to that. What is important now is to make sure that our terms of engagement will be more culturally sensitive,” Abella said in Filipino.

Duterte earlier said he wanted an independent foreign policy, one that is not totally dependent on America.

He has cussed at western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, for criticizing the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has so far seen more than 3,200 people killed.

The European Union, the United Nations, the US and local and international human rights organizations labeled the deaths as extrajudicial killings.

Kerry had expressed confidence about the future of the US and Philippine relationship “notwithstanding a difference here and there about one thing or another.”


MANILA STANDARD

US funding cuts loom: Rights watch blames Du30’s war posted November 03, 2016 at 12:01 am by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan and Macon Ramos-Araneta


US Secretary of State John Kerry

HUMAN Rights Watch warned Wednesday that two other US funding programs for the Philippine National Police worth a total of $41 million are at risk because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs.

In a statement, the group said this includes $9 million in aid for counter-narcotics and law enforcement programs for 2017 and the $32 million in assistance pledged by US Secretary of State John Kerry in July.

HRW Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine said if Duterte’s war against drugs will continue, the Philippines could lose the funding, given the recent announcement of the American government that the $32-million assistance to promote human rights and security is now subject to “rigorous vetting.”

“Duterte and [PNP chief Ronald] dela Rosa are now on notice that the bloodletting they have encouraged carries a cost with its longtime ally,” Kine said.

Kine made his statement after an unverified reports said that the US government has decided to cancel its planned sale of some 27,000 assault rifles to the PNP due to the increasing concern over human rights violations in the country’s campaign against illegal drugs.

READ MORE...

In July, during Kerry’s visit to Manila, the US pledged $32 million in aid to the Philippines in the form of training and services to bolster the country’s law enforcement efforts.

US Embassy Press Attaché And First Secretary Molly Koscina said both countries are now discussing where and how the money will be spent.

“The funds which were recently announced can only be used when both countries agree on their specific use,” Koscina said.

“If no agreement is reached, the funds may be used in a country other than the Philippines,” she added.

Dela Rosa said Wednesday they had not received any official notice that the sale had been called off.

“As per letter from [the US company] Sig Sauer dated Nov. 1, 2016, the export license for the delivery of the rifles is undergoing normal process in the US State Department,” he said.

In the letter of Global Defense Sales executive vice president Amaro Goncalves to the PNP, the American company Sig Sauer Inc. said they have contacted the US State Department to verify the status of the processing of licenses for the assault rifles procured by the PNP.

“This request is the result of media reports indicating that the license processing may be stalled in the US Senate. Sig Sauer contacted the State Department for the status of the license and was advised earlier today that the license was being processed as normal.”

“We will continue to monitor the status of this license and advise of any meaningful changes,” the PNP chief said.

The sale involves 27,394 basic assault rifles worth P64,000 each.

The contract was signed on July 13 while the notice to proceed was approved on July 29 for Sig Sauer Inc., the winning bidder, represented by InTrade Asia Pacific Corp.

The US State Department has remained quiet about the reported cancellation of the rifle deal.

In Davao, Duterte said the country could buy rifles from Russia and China.

“Remember what the Russian diplomat said? ‘Come to Russia. We have here anything you need,’” he said.

Earlier, reports said US Senator Ben Cardin was blocking the sale of rifles amid concerns of human rights violations in the anti-drug campaign.


KIRBY

John Kirby, a spokesman for the US State Department, said his department cannot comment on export license approvals on commercial defense sales.

“The department is restricted under Federal regulations from commenting on the status of and/or internal deliberations regarding export license approvals of proposed commercial defense sales. ‎We are committed to working closely with members of Congress to deliver security assistance to our allies and partners worldwide,” Kirby said in a press briefing at Washington.

Kirby said the rifle deal is governed by commercial export license approvals.

“They are US commercial sales,” he said, adding that while America is committed to the alliance it has with the Philippines, the US government is deeply concerned with reports of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration and wants a probe into these allegations.

Kirby said the US government strongly urges the Philippines to make sure its law enforcement efforts are consistent with its international human rights obligations.

UNFAIR

Senator Panfilo Lacson said the cancellation of the rifle sale exhibited the “bully attitude” that the Americans have toward the Philippines.

In a statement, Lacson decried the decision as unfair.

“Prudence dictates that the US State Department should first show a conclusive investigation that affirms what Senator Benjamin Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” said Lacson.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the country could find other sources.

“Israel, Austria and Russia also produce the same or better assault rifles and ammo. With enough funding, the Philippines can also be good producers,” Sotto added.

But Senator Leila de Lima said the US reactions should have been expected.

“The Duterte administration saw this coming and of course was most probably indifferent to its consequences as its social media support groups and fake news sites will now drum this up as an opportunity to be independent of the US,” De Lima said.

She said this so-called independent positioning is “hollow and all bluster.” With F. Pearl A. Gajunera, John Paolo Bencito


TRIBUNE

‘US CONGRESS MAKING OUTSIDE IMPOSITIONS’: HR not a condition for US deal — Yasay Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 03 November 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora and Ted Tuvera


YASAY

Allegations of human rights violations have never been a condition for mutual commitments of the Philippines and the United States under defense treaties and support agreements, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said yesterday.

A Reuters report had said earlier the US State Department halted the planned sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) after Senate committee on foreign relations member Ben Cardin said he would oppose it.

The mutual commitments of the Philippines and the US under the Mutual Defense Treaty, EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) and other support agreements are “not conditioned upon any alleged human rights violations but are outside impositions made by the US Congress to rein in the Philippines into submission to their undue inference and demands,” Yasay told the Daily Tribune.

The top Democrat opposed the provisions of weapons to the Philippine government given the alleged cases of extrajudicial killings amid President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

Yasay said the alleged extrajudicial killings “are matters that are vigorously being investigated already.”

READ MORE...

“I can only hope Senator Cardin knows what he is doing,” he added. “But in a true sense, the war against illegal drugs, terrorism, piracy and violent extremism is America’s war too.”

He said he has no idea on any agreement entered into with the US government that has a condition attached to it that the government complies with standards involving human rights.

“It’s not a major loss if it is a commercial deal since it’s up to the US if they would sell us arms or not, “we’re buying these arms anyway so if the deal will not pursue there are other markets available for the purchase of arms,” Yasay said.


DOMUINGUEZ

Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Dominguez expressed confidence that United States (US) won’t stop the deal.

”First of all, my understanding is that Senator (Ben) Cardin has indicated concern but I don’t believe he has said he would stop it. I don’t think their system in the US is the same as here where a senator can express concern but that doesn’t necessarily stop the deal,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said whatever the development about the deal would be reported by PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa in the next Cabinet meeting.

“We could buy other arms from countries such as Israel, Japan or other countries that we normally also source our equipment and weapons of this kind,” Yasay added.

DEAL MADE LONG TIME AGO

He said the arrangement must have been made a long time ago during the previous administration but nevertheless the purchase of these arms could have been made pursuant to an agreement with the US in addressing internal and external threats.

Yasay said he will not preempt Philippine National Police Director General dela Rosa but if the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will receive an official request for assistance, he will act on it.

“If this is a matter he feels that we can assist the PNP on, rest assured that we’ll do our job,” he stressed. “That should be the decision of the PNP and the DFA will always be ready to assist if they ask us to do so.”

Dela Rosa earlier said the aborted sale might impact on the PNP’s planned enhancement of capabilities.

“We really need the firearms for our public safety forces,” he has said, adding that if possible he would also ask the DFA to communicate with its counterpart to request a reconsideration on the arms sale.

Duterte shrugs off aborted arms sale



President Duterte, however, said the United States’ move to stop selling weapons to the Philippine government is not a serious matter.

Duterte said in Davao City last Tuesday night that he can always rely on Russia’s arms supply.

“Is that it? That’s their way of frightening us? Not to sell their arms? We have a lot of improvised rifles here,” the President said.

“Remember what the Russians (had promised), the (Russian) diplomat (I talked with ) said, ‘ come to Russia, we all have here anything you need’,” he said.

Earlier, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) announced its decision to end a training program it has long been conducting with the PNP.

The reported withdrawal of the arms sales came just weeks after Duterte, in asserting his independent foreign policy, announced that the Philippines is separating with the US in military and economic terms.

After announcing the policy separation from the US while in China, Duterte and dela Rosa were able to bag over 115 different equipment, including protective vests and surveillance tools from China.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said despite America’s latest threat, the Chief Executive had noted his other options to source military and police weapons.

“Regarding the US State Department’s reported decision to stop the sale of assault rifles to the Philippine National Police, the President made reference to the availability of other sources for the same material,” Abella said.

Dela Rosa, for his part, said that ties between Philippine police and the US “would remain unchanged.” The PNP receives from the US training grants, equipment, and intelligence.

Meanwhile, Duterte has reiterated that despite his order to dismantle all fixed checkpoints nationwide, Proclamation 55 placing the entire country under a State of National Emergency on account of lawless violence is still in effect.

“Yes, so that I can utilize the military as if they are also guardians of law and order,” the President said.

US displays bully attitude — Lacson



Senators, meanwhile, gave conflicting views on the reported halt of the planned sale of assault rifles with some blaming Duterte’s numerous tirades against President Barack Obama and the American government as the culprit.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who earlier expressed belief that the government does not stand to lose from the scrapped arms deal, said such action by the US displayed a bully attitude toward a long-time ally.

Lacson, chair of the Senate public order committee, considered it an unfair to the country being an equally sovereign state.
“Prudence dictates that the US State Department should first show a conclusive investigation that says what Sen. Benjamin Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” he said.

Lacson and some of his colleagues who are considered as Duterte allies in the upper chamber, with the inclusion of Minority Leader Ralph Recto, however, downplayed any serious implications of the aborted transaction saying that other countries could be tapped as supplier.

Recto said this turn of events could jumpstart a program to locally manufacture arms and military equipment.

A WAKE-UP CALL



“It is a wake-up call for us to stop totally relying on foreign suppliers. This is another kind of pivot we need. To tap our domestic industries for the equipment needs of our policemen and soldiers,” he said.

“If some of the things can be made locally and the products are of the same price and quality as the ones bought abroad, then let us manufacture them here,” he added.

Recto cited the existence of a vibrant local firearms industry which has been exporting its products for many decades now.

“What is ‘Made in Marikina’ is as good as what is ‘Made in America’,” Recto said, referring to one local gun manufacturing complex in Marikina.

“There are many of them, from boat builders to vehicle manufacturers, who can step up to the plate once there are firm orders from the government,” Recto said.

He said the country’s car manufacturing industry can supply military and police vehicles, “foreclosing the need to buy them abroad.”

Recto said the province of Cebu can even build coastal patrol ships.

“If we’re buying boats either for coastal, river, environmental or fisheries patrol, then let our local shipyards make them. The weaponry can come from abroad but the boat can be manufactured locally. If other nations find our ships exceptional, then we should export too,” said Recto.

Although this development may disrupt the implementation of the PNP’s capability enhancement program (CEP), Lacson urged the leadership of the police force to start shopping in other territories for their armament requirements.

“Taiwan, for example, has stopped buying their police firearms from the US and is now procuring its standard 9mm pistols from Germany, which they say are better and more suitable to their law enforcement needs. There are other sources like Israel, Belgium, even Russia and China,” he said.

Senators Win Gatchalian and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri backed Lacson’s proposition.

“I don’t see anything wrong with acquiring firearms from other countries. In fact, the technology from other countries is as equally good as the USA. Having said that, the PNP should continue to investigate all the vigilante kills without bias or favor.

The PNP should demonstrate to the public that it also upholds the rule of law and impartiality,” said Gatchalian.

“I would support the purchase of firearms from other sources and countries rather than the US. It’s quite unfair that the (US) is blaming the government for the EJK when the government has repeatedly said that none of the killings are state sponsored and do not condone this type of vigilante type murders. Without credible proof, should the US government decide not to sell us the firearms then, it would open up newer avenues for our other friends around the world to sell us their modern weaponry.

Such as countries like Israel which has an extremely reliable weapons system based on their tried and proven Galil design produced by Isreali Weapons Industry or even with Russia with their AKM rifle which is a modernized AK 47 which can be configured to use the 5.56mm bullet round which our police and military use. We can even promote our local weapons manufacturers such U.M.D which is a local producer of M4 type military rifles all made in the Philippines,” Zubiri said.

“I strongly believe that if one door closes another one will open in terms of opportunities for our country,” he added.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto said countries like Israel, Austria and Russia also produce the same, if not, even better assault rifles and ammunitions.

“With enough funding, the Philippines can also be good producers,” he said.

KILLINGS IN MEXICO

Sotto, however, still managed to take a dig at the US saying that the American government raises so much concern on the alleged EJKs in the country “but they don’t mind the hundreds of thousands of killings in Mexico.”

Sotto was apparently also referring to drug-related killings in Mexico.

Known Duterte critics, however, have a different take, saying that this recent development should have been anticipated by the administration, among the many possible consequences of the President’s tirades against the US government.

“That’s just the start. Things would probably get worse in the coming months as our countrymen get hit from different directions at different levels. But to be clear, contrary to President Duterte’s big lie, the US didn’t start this. He did, when he started killing his own people and didn’t want to be accountable for it,” said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Such reactions from the US should have been expected from the start of the government’s war against drugs with its accompanying toll of EJKS, said Sen. Leila de Lima.

“This is just the start of what we will be reaping from the US as result of the isolationist whirlwind this administration has sown and continue to sow out of an incomprehensible and ridiculous policy shift to anti-Americanism and pro-totalitarian Chinese hegemony in Asia,” she said.

“The Duterte administration saw this coming and of course was most probably indifferent to its consequences as its social media support groups and fake news sites will now drum this up as an opportunity to be independent of the US and its support weapons supplies and technology. This so-called independent positioning is hallow and all bluster,” De Lima said.

The senator such stance will only lead to further isolation of the country from and hostility to, not only the US but also its allies in the region like Japan, Australia and South Korea.

“The question is, how does this deliberate strategy to isolate us from our friends fit a comprehensive foreign policy shift that would allow somehow benefit us as a nation. We cannot go on telling the US to leave us alone just because we don’t want it prying into our human rights records and EJKs. Sooner or later something has to give and as the recent visit of the State Department assistant secretary for the Pacific (Daniel Russel) has laid out, nobody has yet won against the US in such confrontations,” she said.

“Independent of the White House, members of the US Congress can and do block arms sales even to allied countries as a result of poor human rights records or apparent State-tolerated use of violence against the civilian population,” De Lima added.

Not PNP’s loss — Bato


“We cannot force them, if they don’t want to sell to us. We can find other arms supplier maybe Germany or Russia,”

The PNP is not on the losing end in the stoppage of its acquisition of 26,000 units of M4 rifle from a United States company.

Thus said dela Rosa as he stressed police are ready to make do with what they have in their inventory as of now.

“It’s not the loss of the buyer but the loss of the supplier…it’s a loss of sale on their part,” said dela Rosa during a broadcast interview yesterday.

The chief PNP said that downside of the US State Department’s order stopping the sale of 26,000 units of M4 assault rifle to the PNP will further delay the capability upgrade of the Special Action Force (SAF) and other specialized units.

Dela Rosa said that the delay in the acquisition will not affect the day-to-day law enforcement and anti-criminality operations of the PNP.

“We cannot force them, if they don’t want to sell to us. We can find other arms supplier maybe Germany or Russia,”

“These (assault rifles) would be used in counter-terrorism, against big threat groups and private armed groups. Our police can fight even with small arms or even in a fistfight,” he added.

Reports said that a US senator vowed to block the sale of M4 rifles to the PNP, citing alleged human rights violation in the Philippines.

“If this plan will not push through, we will further delay the acquisition for our police because the bidding process will start all over again…nothing is lost on the part of the government , only time lost if ever,” said dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa said that the acquisition would further improve the effectivity of the PNP in going against terrorism
. Angie M. Rosales, Mario J. Mallari, Pat C. Santos


PHILSTAR

Understanding US laws SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus1 0


BY BABE ROMUALDEZ

MANILA - Our friends at the Philippine National Police have expressed disappointment at the decision of the US State Department to stop the sale of some 27,000 assault rifles to the PNP following the opposition expressed by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who happens to be the top Democrat in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The planned purchase of the M4 assault rifles, which was conceived during the past administration, was conducted through public bidding under the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management, with the contract awarded to the winning bidder last July.

Under the US Arms Export Control Act of 1976, the US State Department has a major role in approving major arms sales. However, Section 36(b) provides for notification of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (including briefings on how it will serve US interests) regarding foreign military sales or an international sale of firearms and weapons.

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CARDIN

Cardin is opposing the firearms sale due to alleged human rights violations in the Philippines — the same issue raised by Sen. Patrick Leahy who warned about putting “further conditions” on US aid after the US State Department gave its commitment to provide P320 million assistance to boost the country’s law enforcement efforts.

Sen. Leahy happens to be the principal author of the Leahy Law (or Leahy Amendment) that was first introduced in 1997 as part of the Foreign Operation Appropriations Act involving counter-narcotics efforts. This was eventually expanded to cover all funding assistance from the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Under the Leahy Law, the US is prohibited from providing military assistance to “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

The same prohibition is also observed in the Arms Export Control Act.

Leahy said the law “makes it clear that when credible evidence of human rights violations exists, US aid must stop,” adding that governments that condone extrajudicial killings sow the seeds of instability — a sentiment Cardin had echoed, citing reports of extrajudicial killings, detentions and lack of respect for international commitment to human rights.

The thing is, any aid or assistance really comes with certain conditionalities, and this is also true to other countries like Japan — the Philippines’ biggest official development assistant donor. Japan recently adopted new guidelines for providing international aid under its Development Cooperation Charter wherein respect for human rights, good governance and democracy building are implicit.

Some analysts note Japan is also increasingly leveraging aid to advance its national interests — which is not really surprising since donor countries also want to make sure the funds they provide are in keeping with their goals and aims. As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

PERCEIVED BIAS

'Several observers however, told me they perceive bias coming from Sen. Cardin since he seems to have “prejudged the Philippine government of sanctioning so-called extrajudicial killings without sufficient proof, forgetting the Philippines is a democracy that follows the rule of law.”

They point to Cardin’s strong criticism of the letter sent by Leahy and other senators to State Secretary John Kerry last February regarding alleged incidents of gross human rights violations involving Israeli and Egyptian security forces as reported by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, saying the incidents “may have involved recipients or potential recipients of US military assistance.”

Cardin (who reportedly receives a lot of contributions from pro-Israel lobbyists) strongly criticized the letter saying “there is no comparison” (between Israeli and Egyptian forces) since “Israel has rule of law. They have a system that will hold those individuals accountable.”

Looking at it from a positive point of view, this recent development could serve as a boon to local arms manufacturers following the statement of Sen. Ping Lacson that we can revive our self-reliance program and even produce our own weapons and other military hardware. Armscor for instance, which has been in the business of firearms and ammunitions manufacturing for over 60 years, has always been a strong supporter of the AFP’s Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program, exporting products to 60 countries including the US where it has production facilities for its popular Rock Island Armory 1911 series pistols.

Spy tidbit: Babes Oreta back to his first love

True to his word, my good friend lawyer Mario “Babes” Oreta has gone back to his first love — that is, the practice of law. It can be recalled that Babes retired as president of Alphaland earlier this year, after which he rejoined the law firm he founded almost 40 years ago with former Rep.Ding Tanjuatco and former Environment Secretary Jun Factoran.

In rejoining the firm now known as Tanjuatco, Oreta and Partners or TOPLAW, my friend and namesake will be working with ex-Rep. Ding’s son Dino, who also recently retired as president of Clark International Airport. With his vast network in business and government, Babes promises to spend his time in deal making and teaching young lawyers the art of the practice of the noble profession. This is certainly interesting to watch.


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