The Armed Forces of the Philippines received at least P117.4 million or $2.2 million worth of five million rounds of ammunition from the United States government for the Filipino soldiers’ counterterrorism training.
A statement from the US Embassy in Manila said that the ammunition, delivered to Clark Air Base in two batches on September 7 and 21, were funded as a grant through the United States Counter-terrorism Train and Equip Program and will be used primarily by the Philippine Army’s Light Reaction Regiment and the Armed Forces’ Joint Special Operations Group.
The shipment included various types of live and practice 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm rounds, 12-gauge shotgun shells, .50-caliber rounds, and stun grenades.
“The United States, as a longstanding friend, partner, and ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the Armed Forces through both grant assistance and expedited sales of arms and munitions to assist both long-term Armed Forces modernization goals as well as urgent counter-terrorism and humanitarian aid and disaster relief requirements,” the US Embassy in Manila said.
On top of the ammunition, the shipment included a Philippine Air Force purchase of more than one million rounds of ammunition through the United States Foreign Military Sales program. This brought the total to more than six million rounds.
The arrival dates of the ammunition sandwiched the September 18 visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to the United States to meet his US counterpart, US Defense Chief Mattis, wherein Manila and Washington reaffirmed their commitment to fighting terrorism.
Dana White, spokesperson for the Pentagon, described the Lorenzana-Mattis meeting as a discussion of a broad range of defense issues, including both parties’ commitment to fighting terrorism and reaffirming US military advisory support to assist the Philippines in combating ISIS and other violent extremist networks. —Llanesca T. Panti/KG, GMA News