MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for giving the Philippines free weapons and ammunition which it can use in the ongoing battle against Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City.
“I am pleased to convey my gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for the donation consisting of various rifles and ammunition amounting to around 50 million yuan turned over today (Wednesday), as well as for the long standing-partnership between our countries,” he added.
The arms and ammunition was delivered at the Harrison Landing Zone, Clark Freeport, on board a two-cargo Ilyushin IL-76 military plane.
These consists of 3,000 rifles with 5 million ammunition and 90 long-range sniper rifles with 800,000 rounds.
The weapons were formally turned over by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday.
The Chief Executive earlier said the firearms donation is one of the defense cooperation matters discussed by the People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping in his visit to China last October.
The latter is part of the military package to the Philippines, in relation with the emerging threat of terrorism and piracy in Mindanao.
“These rifles and ammunition are (a) welcome addition to the existing materiel in the arsenal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Likewise, these will certainly improve the capabilities of our Armed Forces for the internal security operations particularly in the southern part of the country,” the DND chief said.
He was referring to the six-week long conflict in Marawi City which has so far killed 299 of the terrorists and killed 70 government troops along with an estimated 27 civilians.
Fighting there started when military and police units tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS “Emir” in Southeast Asia last May 23.
“On behalf of the Filipino people who are indeed the ultimate beneficiaries of Chinese magnamity, I accept this donation from the People’s Republic of China with a deep sense of gratitude as well as a renewed sense of hope for our nation’s safety and security,” Lorenzana bared. Priam F. Nepomuceno/Gilbert Villaruz-OJT/PNA-northboundasia.com