Duterte regime, to purchase P2.4-B artilerie systems amid crisis
The Duterte regime, last May 12, issued a notice to proceed with the procurement of the artillery systems worth P2.4 billion from Israeli company Elbit Systems amid the continuing economic crisis brought about by Covid-19.
The contract covers the procurement of two ATMOS 2000 155mm/52 Caliber Self-propelled Howitzer Systems, two batteries, with six mobile firing units each, and associated support systems.
The said system has a maximum range of 41 kilometers and a fire rate of 3 rounds/15 seconds on burst mode, 5 rounds/minute on rapid mode, and more than 80 rounds per hour on sustained mode.
The procurement program was made under the AFP modernization program which aims to boost Duterte’s arsenal in a vain attempt to fulfill his ambition to decimate the armed revolutionary movement before the end of his term.
The use of oversized cannons and helicopter gunships only results in indiscriminate destruction of communities and the environment, endangers people’s lives and livelihood, and causes psychological trauma especially on children.
The first set of artillery system is expected to be delivered in 2021.
Relatedly, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the US Department of State approved last April 30 the Duterte regime’s request to buy six AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters and other war matériel and services worth P75 billion.
Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana noted that the price of helicopters is too high and said that the regime could not buy these. However, he made no mention of whether they will still buy the thousands of missiles, weapons, and other war matériel which are also part of the contract. Lorenzana said that the regime is more inclined to procuring cheaper helicopters from Turkey.
Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Romualdez said in an interview last May 13 that the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter which the regime purchased last year from the US are set to be delivered soon. The contract for the procurement of 16 helicopters was signed earlier last year for P1.21 billion. The helicopters were bought from PZL Mielec a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense companies and part of the US military-industrial complex. Meanwhile, the BRP Jose Rizal is also set to be delivered to the country on May 23. The ship was purchased along with the BRP Antonio Luna by the regime from Hyundai South Korea for P18 billion.