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Time to shop for better rifles!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - November 3, 2016 - 12:00am

It was truly a very wet long weekend celebrating All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, and it was the first time that I did not even care to visit the cemeteries, opting to pray for my dearly departed relatives in my room. My family did not want me to catch a cold now that I'm preparing myself for my big operation next week. But one thing that my wife complained about was the high cost of flowers this year-more than 50 percent mark up than last year. Somehow, small entrepreneurs try to cash in on these celebrations, but then, because of the incessant rains, I heard that fewer people went to the cemeteries. This could only mean one thing: many unsold flowers!

***

The big breaking news headline is that the US State Department has stopped the sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines. This sale was apparently opposed by Sen. Ben Cardin of the US Foreign Relations Committee who feared that the weapons would be used to kill Filipinos in our war against illegal drugs. I'd be crying if the United States is the only weapons supplier on this Earth. But while the US M4 carbine is a good weapon, there are so many assault rifles out in the market which are far more superior to the US M4 carbine.

Of course, this report had President Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte hitting back at the US government for its double standard in the application of justice. They accuse the Philippines of extra-judicial killings (EJK), yet the US government is doing its own EJK on a daily basis. They use drones flown by young servicemen in West Virginia that drops Hellfire missiles on their targets in Iraq or in Syria, but method also kills people who happen to be in the area of the intended target. They are called collateral damage. But for us, it is still EJK. Lest you have already forgotten, any killing that is not authorized by the Supreme Court is considered EJK, and the US is doing this with impunity.

Meanwhile, now is the time for the Philippines to shop elsewhere for new weapons. Perhaps this time around, if they find a weapons manufacturer willing to sell new assault rifles, we can stipulate in that deal that the weapons be manufactured or assembled in the Philippines so that we too can learn to make those firearms using new technologies.

Mind you, when we had started using the Armalite assault rifles, they were made under license by the Elisco or Elizalde Company and the quality of the rifles were just as good as those made by Colt Firearms. For me, the IWI Israeli Tavor Bullpup rifle is one of the best assault rifles on the market. A Bullpup design means that the long barrel of a rifle can still be maintained but since the magazine is located at the back. It feels very short much like a submachine gun but with the punch of an assault rifle, which was designed for urban warfare or close combat warfare. Now if we can entice IWI Tavor to make these firearms here, the Philippine Military will have a firearm that many armies in the world can only envy.

Of course, Russia is one of the best weapon makers. The famous AK-47 Kalashnikov is considered as one of the best assault rifles in the world that competed head-to-head with the US Armalite rifle. Pres. Duterte is yet to visit Russia after his State visit to China and Japan. So in a way, there is no need to hurry and purchase those assault rifles but wait for a great deal to come our way.

***

There are rumors that due to ideological reasons, the current ruling party, the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) that backed the candidacy of Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte might be headed for a political iceberg. Hmmm, talks has it that Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.'s recently launched (it was launched last Aug. 13th) Kilusang Pagbabago, a grassroots movement that could become the rival of the traditional PDP-Laban politicians, many of whom are immigrants from the once mighty Liberal Party.

If you ask me, it is too early in the game whether this grassroots movement would become a political party. Firstly, with the postponement of the Barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan elections, it means there would be no jockeying of positions by anyone who wants to run for their respective political parties. But without any doubt, the political lines are clearly drawn. PDP-Laban is headed by no less than Pres. Duterte himself with Sen. Koko Pimentel as party president. So at this time, I don't think that Sec. Evasco would cross the path of Pres. Duterte. But it is worth looking at where these two groups stand as far as federalism is concerned.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

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