The US Embassy in Manila said the USS Carl Vinson is in the West Philippine Sea area to conduct “routine maritime operations, promote freedom of navigation, and work with partners and allies to enhance regional security and stability.” Philippine officials led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea visited the supercarrier earlier this month.
The United States’ decision to halt the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to the Philippine National Police was not a scare tactic but a bully attitude towards a longtime ally – which is not fair, the Philippines being an equally sovereign state.
Prudence dictates that the US State Department should first show a conclusive investigation that affirms what Sen. Benjamin Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services.
Though it may disrupt the implementation of the PNP’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP), they should now 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 their 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.
First, I have yet to see an investigation with the conclusion that massive and state-sanctioned human rights violations were committed under the present regime’s drive against illegal drugs, so I would take US Sen. Cardin’s statement as his own opinion and nothing more.
Second, since it’s a planned sale of assault rifles by the US to the Philippines, we do not stand to lose anything except one less gun store to choose from. There are tens of other countries that manufacture better and probably cheaper assault rifles than the US.
Third, there is now more reason for our Department of National Defense to revive our self-reliance program so we can produce our own weapons and ammunition and other military hardware.
Any statement spoken by a country’s leader is always construed as a policy statement. Having said that, I don’t see any drastic change in the long-standing friendly relations between the Philippines and the United States. We are one of the United States’ strongest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, and it will stay that way.
Presidents come after elections and go after their terms end, while alliances between countries remain strong, especially between the United States and the Philippines. I hope our president will soon realize that diplomacy is always part and parcel of a country’s foreign policy and being the country’s leader, he shapes that policy.