US gives Philippines new anti-terror weapons

MANILA – The United States gave the Philippines new counterterrorism weapons and equipments which a commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps said would be used for counterterrorism operations in the Southern Philippines.

Officials from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) turned over the weapons and equipment to Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Philippine Marine Corps Commandant in a ceremony held at the PMC Headquarters at Taguig on June 5.

The weapons and equipment will enhance the Philippine Marines’ counterterrorism capabilities and help protect the troops actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines,” a US Embassy statement said.

Salamat said troops would use the weapons in the ongoing battle against Islamist militants in the southern Philippines.

The weapons and equipment include 300 M4 carbines, 200 Glock 21 pistols, 4 M134D Gatling-style machine guns, and 100 M203 grenade launchers delivered May 18-22 to Clark Air Base. JUSMAG also delivered 25 new Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) with outboard motors May 30 to PMC Headquarters. The PMC’s Inshore Boat Battalion and Marine Special Operations Group have already employed previous U.S. Counterterrorism Train and Equip gear in ongoing combat operations in the southern Philippines.

Since 2007, representatives from JUSMAG have delivered and programmed Php7.3 billion of military equipment to the Philippine Marine Corps and other branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enhance counterterrorism capabilities. In addition, the AFP has procured small-arms weapons, water craft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and personal protective equipment as part of the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales system and other programs.

Over the last five years, the U.S. government has allocated Php15 billion of grant funding to provide the AFP with equipment, including corresponding upgrades and training. The equipment transfers and continued bilateral training and exercises demonstrate the commitment of the United States to work with the Philippines towards building safer communities and eradicating global terror networks. (Tawid News/US Embassy report)