DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the cancellation of the order for the purchase of 26,000 assault rifles from the United States.

“I am ordering its cancellation sa police. We will just have to look for another source that is cheaper and maybe as durable and as good as those made from the place we are ordering them,” Duterte said during the ceremony for the signing of the executive order creating the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañan on Monday, Nov. 7.

A US Senator has recently blocked the sale of the rifles to the country amidst human rights concerns related to the Philippines’ anti-drug war.

In a statement on Nov. 2, Phelim Kine, deputy director forAsia of the Human Rights Watch said the move was “well-justified, as the police are deeply implicated in President Rodrigo Duterte’s abusive “war on drugs,” which has resulted in the deaths of nearly 5,000 Filipinos since he took office in June.”

Kine said: The State Department’s decision is the first real US move to put teeth in its criticism of the spiraling death toll Duterte’s “drug war.”

Duterte maintained that he “did not order punitive actions”. He also reiterated that he would pursue the anti-drug campaign regardless of criticisms.

“Whatever the HR (human rights) guys would tell us, whatever be the characterization of the situation, I am declaring a war until the last pusher or the last drug lord is killed this campaign will continue until the very last day of my term, however short  or however long. I am committed to that duty,” Duterte said.

Moratorium on violence

While Duterte said he could “get the firearms somewhere else”, he also mentioned that he opts to use th money in funding the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

“Yang baril na yan bilihin ko , sinong patayin ko niyan? Wala man tayong kalaban. Tayo-tayo lang nagpapatayan dito so what’s my hurry (That gun that I’m buying, who will I kill with it? We don’t have enemies. We are killing our own people here, so what’s my hurry?),” he said.

“Let us just have a moratorium on violence and maybe we can use the money to do some other endings,” Duterte added.

Duterte reiterated that he is committed to the peace process with the Bangsamoro and the communists.

The President frequently traded barbs with the US who is critical of the administration’s anti-drug war. (davaotoday.com)

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