President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, July 18, led the ceremonial turnover of 3,000 units of caliber .45 pistols to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), fulfilling his promise to provide guns to the Filipino soldiers.
In his speech during the turnover rites at Heroes Hall of the Malacañan Palace, President Duterte said being Davao City Mayor for more than two decades, he knew that soldiers were vulnerable particularly to communist rebels.
“Ang problema kasi nitong military, unang-una, though no fault of yours, labas kayo ng kampo, wala man kayong baril… you go to the town proper, you go there, maybe you drink and you enjoy. Pag-uwi ninyo, inaabangan kayo ng mga NPA,” the President said.
“Ang ayaw ko doon, ‘yung patayin nila ang tao na walang armas. Walang kalaban-laban. So sabi ko, hindi pwede ito. Kailangan ko talaga to place my soldiers on equal footing with them. Kasi sila, nakakadala ng armas, sidearms. Eh maiwan nila ‘yung M16 nila,” he said.
The President also noted that soldiers are facing different fronts, advising them to be extra careful particularly in Zamboanga and Sulu.
“Be careful. It would give you a more equanimity kasi matapang ka eh. Not really tapang, but you walk with confidence,” he said.
The Chief Executive, however, told commanders to watch their men and impose strict discipline for the appropriate use of pistols.
He also told the soldiers not to use the guns against innocent civilians.
The pistols bear the trademark Rock Island Armory caliber .45 1911 A2 TAC Ultra FS pistols. These are hammer fired, high-capacity pistols with 13 rounds magazine capacity.
The troops receiving the guns will have one magazine deployed in the pistols and two extra magazines.
During the ceremony, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año expressed gratitude for President Duterte’s unwavering support and genuine concern to the soldiers, saying that the pistols will boost the troops’ morale.###PND