MANILA, Philippines - The military vehicles seen in Manila last week that triggered speculations about coups were actually transporting new rifles to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, a military official said yesterday.
Far from being used to destabilize the government, the brand new rifles will be distributed to field units soon for their security operations, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato said.
The 27,200 units of M4 caliber 5.56mm rifles, which arrived at the Manila South Harbor last Thursday, make up the first batch of firearms acquired from American firm Remington Arms Co.
“The armored vehicles seen at the South Harbor were escorting these critical items,” Detoyato said.
“You will be inspired (to work). You will feel goose bumps. You know that these are brand new rifles,” he added.
The rifles were placed in 59 crates inside 19 containers.
Detoyato said 100 rifles had arrived before the delivery at South Harbor.
President Aquino was supposed to lead the ceremonial turnover of the 100 firearms to the Army last month but it did not push through.
The defense department originally planned to buy 50,629 units of rifles from Remington.
The government, however, saved P1.2 billion from the procurement, allowing it to increase the number of rifles to be acquired to more than 63,000.
About P2.4 billion will be spent for the rifles, which will replace the Army’s aging M16s.
The rest of the rifles are expected to be delivered by December and will be subjected to inspection and documentation.