GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 June) — The provincial government of South Cotabato is planning to acquire firearms, including assault rifles, for police units in the province.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Friday they are currently looking into the requirements and options regarding the purchase of the firearms that is targeted to begin before the end of the year.
She said the local government initially allocated funds for such purpose last year but decided to defer the purchase after the national government moved to acquire assault rifles from the United States.
But the sale of some 26,000 assault rifles, which were intended for the Philippine National Police (PNP), did not push through.
“That remains pending until now so we’re pushing through with it as our police units and operatives really need additional firearms,” Fuentes said.
The governor said they have yet to determine the number of firearms that will be purchased as it will depend on the price of each unit.
But she said the provincial government will not likely acquire M1 Carbine assault rifles as preferred by the PNP since they cost around P100,000 each.
Fuentes said they will look at “cheaper but quality” models with similar capability or specifications.
“We will evaluate our options and decide on the most reasonably priced but reliable unit,” she said.
Fuentes said the planned firearms purchase this year will be the first of a series of purchases by the provincial government.
“This will continue until our police units would be fully equipped,” she said.
Earlier this year, the provincial government released brand new motorcycle units to local police units and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion.
The local government also issued shotguns to the province’s barangay chairs but were eventually recalled due to licensing problems.
Fuentes said she is planning to transfer the custody of the returned shotguns to the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office to facilitate their use by local police units. (MindaNews)