Advertisement

After State Dept. blocks sale, Rodrigo Duterte cancels order for 26,000 U.S. M4s

By Andrew V. Pestano
After State Dept. blocks sale, Rodrigo Duterte cancels order for 26,000 U.S. M4s
The M4 carbine, pictured here being fired at a West Point gun range, is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16 rifle. The M4 has been adopted by the U.S. military as its primary assault weapon and is also favored by police for tactical use. Photo by Chad Rachman/UPI | License Photo

MANILA, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he has canceled the purchase of 26,000 assault rifles from the United States after the sale was halted by the U.S. State Department.

The weapons were to be used by the Philippines National Police, which is on an aggressive and violent anti-drug campaign that has spiked killings of suspected drug dealers by both police and citizens. The State Department last week halted the sale of the weapons after Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would block the sale.

Advertisement

On Monday, Duterte said he ordered the Philippines National Police to cancel the purchase.

"I would like to announce now, that the ... 26,000 M16s that was maybe ordered, or were ordered already, I am ordering its cancellation," Duterte said, misidentifying the weapon type as M16s. "We will just have to look for another source that is cheaper and maybe as durable and as good."

RELATED Philippine mayor accused of drug crimes shot dead

SIG Sauer is manufacturing the M4s in this deal at about $1,300 each. They are a shorter and lighter carbine variant of the M16 rifle, made for the military, police and civilian markets. They can fire in semiautomatic mode or in three-round bursts.

Advertisement

Previously, Duterte suggested he would purchase weapons from Russia if the United States blocked the sale.

"We will not insist in buying expensive arms. We can always get them somewhere else," Duterte added on Monday.

RELATED Duterte proposes joint operations with Malaysia to fight terrorism

Officials in the Philippines said about 3,500 people have been killed and nearly 20,000 have been arrested since the start of Duterte's "war on drugs," but human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have said the toll is much higher -- prompting Cardin's call to block the sale.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to the weapons in the deal as M16s. The sale involves M4 tactical rifles, a carbine variant of the M16.

RELATED Philippines' Duterte promises God he'll stop cursing

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement