US cancellation of rifles sale a 'great opportunity,' says CPP
MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has welcomed the reported US plan to stop the sale of rifles to the Philippines, saying it would provide a "great opportunity" to steer the local police force away from the militarized style of their US counterparts.
"It is a great opportunity for the PNP to rethink and repudiate the militarization of police work, something which the US police forces have done and which is now being thrust on the local police forces,” the CPP said in a statement on Wednesday, November 2.
“It is the US military-industrial complex that turned the US police force into a domestic military force that is being armed with high-powered weapons as well as light-armored vehicles and trained in the same war complex as the US military forces,” it added.
The CPP said the practice of equipping cops with long firearms has led to the notoriety of the US police force over the unnecessary deaths of civilians during its operations, especially black people – a point often raised by President Rodrigo Duterte whenever he lambasts the US for criticizing his campaign against illegal drugs.
“Over the past few years, the US police forces have become increasingly notorious for being quick on the draw in shooting down suspects, especially black people,” the CPP said.
Concerned that US guns would be used in committing human rights abuses in the Philippines, US Senator Ben Cardin has reportedly vowed to block the purchase of 26,000 assault rifles for the Philippine National Police (PNP) when the US Congress is informed about the sale – a necessary step when US companies sell weapons abroad.
Cardin, a ranking member of the US Senate's foreign relations commitee, had earlier called out Duterte for "advocating and endorsing what amounts to mass murder" in his war on drugs. He had also warned of imposing more conditions on US aid to the Philippines if the spate of killings linked to the state campaign continues.
In its statement, the CPP slammed what it called the "hypocrisy" of the US in criticizing the human rights record of Duterte when the superpower supported past Philippine presidents despite what the rebel group said were similar records of violations.
“It is utterly hypocritical for the US State Department to now invoke human rights against the anti-US Duterte regime when the US government supported without remorse the Marcos dictatorship and all succeeding regimes which trampled on human rights with impunity,” the CPP said.
“These counter-insurgency operations were all conducted in favor of US aims of suppressing the democratic and anti-imperialist forces in the Philippines," it argued.
On Wednesday, Duterte cursed the US anew over its threat to cancel the sale, and said he can turn to China and Russia for PNP firearms.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa had said he might seek the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs to make sure the sale pushes through, but added that he would take the cue from the President.
The CPP is against equipping the police with long firearms, saying it is a US-supported tactic against communist rebels.
The CPP has resumed long-stalled peace talks with the Duterte administration through its political arm, the National Democratic Front. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com