US delivers new rifles to the Philippines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2019 06:38 PM

Soldiers unload firearms Manila bought from Washington at Camp Aguinaldo, July 17, 2019. Handout

MANILA - The United States delivered military hardware the Philippines acquired Wednesday, part of efforts to upgrade the armed forces.

The turnover happened on the same day President Rodrigo Duterte invoked Manila's Mutual Defense Treaty with Washington over maritime tensions in the disputed West Philippine Sea, a remark Malacañang has called "sarcasm."

Washington delivered 10 M-107 .50 caliber sniper rifles to the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on July 17, six days after the order arrived at the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga on July 11, the US embassy said in a statement Thursday.

The US has previously delivered firearms, radios, and night vision devices among others. It said it would also train the Armed Forces of the Philippines to operate and maintain the equipment.

The US reiterated its support to the Philippines by saying it would provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief, grant assistance, and faster sales of firearms and ammunition.

Duterte had said Manila would no longer procure weapons from the US after it threatened to impose sanctions on countries buying military equipment from Russia, but later said he would "reconsider."

The US and the Philippines have long-standing military ties, with the 1951 defense treaty binding the two sides to come to each other's aid in case of external aggression.

The long-time allies regularly conduct joint military drills.