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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Philippine Manufacturer of M4 Assault Rifles step-up Self-Reliant Defense Program (SRDP), call for “buy Filipino” cause

8 comments

UDMC M4s

Philippine defense companies fight for "buy Filipino"

By Norman Sison, VERA Files

It was not your usual errand. Several days ago, the head of the security force tasked with protecting President Aquino, toured a small three-storey plant in a Manila suburb that manufactures M4 assault rifles, the standard battle rifle of the US Army.

In April, United Defense Manufacturing Corporation sent a letter inviting Aquino to visit and see what the company could do for the military. In line with his efforts to modernize the armed forces, Aquino forwarded the letter to the Presidential Security Group and ordered them to take a look.

Last May 16, General Chito Dizon, who heads the PSG, went himself to see if the rifles will meet the requirements of the PSG's Special Reaction Unit, which responds to an emergency at a moment's notice. Dizon was impressed. If United Defense's rifles pass further testing, the PSG will place an order for its elite unit.

This is a welcome relief for Gene Cariño, president of United Defense. Since the company started in 2009, Cariño could only look as the country's military and police forces bought rifles and other weapons from abroad. Because of requirements imposed by law, his company is not qualified to bid for government contracts for assault rifles.

Earlier this month, the Department of National Defense awarded a contract for 50,000 M4s to US company Remington. The other bidders were legendary American firearms company Colt, Manroy and Sig Sauer.

"We are really no match for foreign brands," Cariño says, exasperated.

UDMC Assembly

UDMC Assembly

It is a frustration shared by Bert del Mundo, vice president for corporate planning and corporate development for local gun company Armscor. Last year, the company lost a bid for a Philippine National Police contract for 60,000 9mm pistols to an importer of the Austrian-made Glock. Armscor was the only Philippine company that made a bid.

In an attempt to change the landscape, del Mundo called on several local defense companies, including United Defense, to explore the possibility of putting up an association to push their "buy Filipino" cause. Two representatives showed up at the meeting on March 28 at Armscor's Ortigas Center office.

One idea for the proposed Defense Manufacturers Association of the Philippines is for it to form a core group of defense contractors that will meet the needs of the military and other security forces.

"We submit a plan to the government telling them, 'This is the focus of each group member.' We match the government's future requirements. That is the concept of the Self-Reliant Defense Program (SRDP)," says del Mundo, referring to the government efforts for the country to develop its own defense industry and rely less on other countries for weapons.

In 1974, when the Philippine military was still the envy of Asia, Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 415, establishing the SRDP. However, it was discontinued for some reason. By the time Marcos was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986, the military had become among the world's weakest because of neglect, corruption and incompetence.

The Aquino administration has revived the SRDP following China's seizure of Scarborough Shoal from Philippine control last year.

Cariño was unable to attend the Armscor meeting, but had sent his thoughts to del Mundo in a letter. One, that the SRDP be made into a law to ensure continuity. "Enacting SRDP into a law by Congress will hopefully bring it forward as a mandate rather than as a mere initiative by the current and future administrations," he wrote.

Two, seek court relief from a government procurement law, Republic Act No. 9184, that Cariño says "unwittingly tends to favor foreign manufacturers".

Expecting Congress to take forever to act, Cariño said the group should file a "petition for declaratory relief with the proper court with the objective of hopefully gaining the court's favorable ruling that the SRDP takes precedence and importance over and above RA 9184 and other laws that tend to impede upon the SRDP program."

Del Mundo explains how the government procurement law stunts the local defense industry: "When you hold a public bidding, the agencies are not required to name any specific brand because it is an open bidding. So, for example, when they need a standard pistol, it should be generic — 45-caliber pistol, period. If you state a specific brand, you are favoring that brand, which is against the law. Since it's an open bidding, anybody can bid whether you are local or foreign."

Cariño has a long-term view for the proposed defense association. He envisions its members pooling their assets and resources into research and development and produce more sophisticated weaponry. "Size is might when leveraging with the banks and other creditors," he says. Cariño points to South Korea, which produces its own rifles, fighter planes, tanks, missiles, navy ships and other weaponry.

Cariño intends to push for the creation of the defense association and lead the "buy Filipino" charge, saying that to back off now would only waste the millions he has already invested in his company.

"There is strength and influence in numbers. No matter how noble and novel your idea is, if you are just one company, you are weak," he says. "It becomes more difficult if the company driving the novelty is up against a government that seems to favor foreign brands."

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true".)

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8 Responses so far

  1. CHINA IS THE BRAIN OF OUSTING MARCOS SO THEY COULD BULLY THE PHILIPPINES, CPP-NPA, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH - NAGPAGAMIT DIN.. KAWAWANG PILIPINAS says:

    Now I am confused... Is this all and everything is dirty politics?

    Our government planted and brainwashed all of the Pinoys that Marcos is Corrupt, I think I want to believe that Marcos is corrupt because he have several women including an Australian Actress who receives Million Dollars from the late Dictator, Singapore Bank also recently release the hidden wealth of Marcos not to the Philippine Government but to Lucio Tan. I dunno why Singapore Court favored Lucio Tan to be the beneficiary of Marcos hidden wealth in Singapore instead of the Philippine Government?

    During the time of Marcos, It said to be no one could bully the Philippines as one of the Strongest and Most Powerful country in Asia But what happened after Marcos was ousted? We are now always bullied that even an island state Taiwan bullied the Philippines.

    Suddenly this afternoon, I saw a flash of light in my mind after reading this article… it creates a doubt and a genuine Idea if Marcos is really evil or just a victim of dirty politics in the world?

    I agree everyone have their black side… but there are strength also that evil use to find their weakest part to destroy them.

    MY QUESTION IS WHY THE PHILIPPINES BECOME THE POOREST; THE WEAKEST IN ASIA AFTER MARCOS IS GONE?

    To the Ghost of Marcos, I am sorry as I am one who criticized you during the last 2 years… but the light that flash in my mind this afternoon seems to be a light of wisdom from heaven saying that Marcos is just a victim of Dirty politics leaded by China.

    When Marcos lead the country, china could not even enter the Philippine waters without permission but now China almost make our shore as their beach and past time to bully our country.

    During the time of Marcos, CPP-NPA receives windfall of Support from China to oust Marcos…

    • The Roman Catholic Church with Cardinal Sin benefited
    • THE CPP-NPA enjoyed the blessing from devil china
    • The peace stability of the Philippines destroyed and Marcos ousted.

    China win the game.. when Marcos ousted, the Aquino reigns with agreement from Malaysian Government not to claim Sabah, in return of support to power Cory Aquino.

    Now I realized that the Enemy is now sitting in our country…

    • First the Philippines is one of the richest and most powerful country in Asia next to Japan during Marcos
    • Secondly, China envy to the Philippines then s China funded CPP-NPA to destabilized the Strong man “Marcos”
    • 3rd, China used Malaysia to fund the Muslims in Mindanao to destabilized the government .. this time 2 countries are envy to the Philippines (China and Malaysia)
    • Then the Aquino make agreement with Malaysian government to have the seat in Malacanang in return of not claiming Sabah
    • Then Who kill Noynoy?: It was Malaysia who killed Noynoy to quiet him because he knew so many things and they make it during the return of Noynoy to the Philippines while Marcos is an enemy so the killing would be charge to Marcos instead of the hiding Malaysia
    • Then the Innocent.. the People of the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Sin, were used by China and Malaysia to destroy Marcos power.. pity Philippines.. a small aid to the Roman Catholic Churches from China, we betrayed our fellows just to support the evil desire of china.
    • Then Marcos ousted though the support of People power which Cardinal Sin is one of the leader.. Cory Aquino receive the Funding from Malaysia and China.
    • Singapore court favored Lucio tan to be the Beneficiary of hidden wealth of Marcos in Singapore instead of the Philippines early 2013

    WHO ARE OUR ENEMY THEN?

    Why are we people betrayed our fellow compatriot just to let china win over their evil desire to the Philippines?

    Now my mind is changing… I think everything is just about Dirty Politics… we lost our Scarborough Shoal, Our Mischief Reef and now the Anguyin Reef is on stand-off after we lose Marcos.. I am in doubt of the small Bong Bong Marcos could be as strong as his father… bong Bong … save the Philippines.. dude!!!

    My God… let the fire rains from heaven and burn the evils…

  2. Anonymous says:

    BEFORE THE EXILE OF NINOY AQUINO, HE HAD TALKED WITH MALAYSIA TO SUPPORT HIM TO OUST MARCOS.. MALAYSIA RESPONDED IF WE WILL SUPPORT YOU, YOU MUST NOT CLAIM SABAH.

    MOST PROBABLY MALAYSIA KILLED NOYNOY AQUINO AFTER DISAGREEING MALAYSIA OF NOT CLAIMING SABAH

    WHEN CORY GOT THE POWER, MALAYSIA REMINDED CORY AQUINO NOT TO CLAIM SABAH BECAUSE THEY HAVE AGREEMENT WITH NINOY TO SUPPORT HIM TO OUST MARCOS BUT HE MUST STOP CLAIMING SABAH..

    CORY AQUINO SAID NO, I DUNNO THAT ... SHE IS IN DOUBT.. BUT MALAYSIA REMINDED CORY AQUINO TO BE OUST FROM POWER LIKE MARCOS IF SHE WILL CLAIM SABAH..

    CORY SUPPOSED TO ASKED NINOY AQUINO BUT HOW A DEAD CAN ANSWER?

    NOW THE SAME THING WITH noynoy... would be ousted if he will claim sabah..

    The enemy of the Philippines is the Roman Catholic Church who is under the umbrella of China and the CPP-NPA

  3. Anonymous says:

    YES CARINO IS RIGHT! WE MUST SUPPORT CARINO! SUPPORT "SRDP" AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR OWN MILITARY HARDWARE! ABOLISH THE NON SENSE WRITTEN CONSTITUTION LIKE "RA-9184"! SUPPORT "BUY FILIPINO"! SUPPORT MORE JOBS FOR THE FILIPINOS! WERE CALLING TO THE CONGRESS TO ACT AND PRIORITIZE THESE!

  4. Anonymous says:

    we must buy our own product....

  5. Anonymous says:

    JOB FOR FILIPINOS PARANG ITO LANG ANG HINDI KAYA NI AQUINO NGAYON. TUMATAAS ANG ECONOMIYA NG BANSA PERO HINDI KASALI ANG MGA FILIPINO, OO ANG MGA INTSIK NAGING MAYAMAN AT NAPABAYAAN NA ANG IBANG PULO NG BANSA NAANGKIN NA NG MGA INTSIK SANA PAALISIN ANG MGA INTSIK SA BANSA...

  6. Anonymous says:

    We can produce locally made products and Filipinos all over the world including those in our very own country are ready to buy Philippine made products.

    So it is high time that we produce our own appliances, computers, cellular phones, IPOD, bicycles, motorcycles, watches, office supplies, ships, planes, helicopters, heavy duty and industrial equipment, etc.

  7. Anonymous says:

    dapat kasi payagan ng gobyerno o kaya supportahan yung mga idea na gumawa ng armas na sarili natin para di na tayo bibili ng mahal kung maganda naman ang gawang pinoy..ito na yung time ng mga pilipinong inventor na gumawa at tumuklas ng sariling armas... magaling tayo kailangan lang suporta ng bawat isa... wag na mag kurap sa bansa.. pinapasok na tayo ng mga kalapit bansa kasi nga alam nila puro salita lang tayo pero walang nagawa...magising na sana yung mga nakaupo.. di nyo madadala pera nyo sa langit, buhayin nating mga pilipino yung pagkakaisa... at paunlarin ang bansa" laban pinas" matalino tayo higit kanino man..wag lang mag kanya kanya ..lets unite today " isang dugo isang lahi" naiiwan na tayo ng technolohiya...

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yeh right as if any of you would fly in a filipino made helicopter. Nothing we make works, were still throwing trash out of the five star bus window in manila and clogging out our drainage system...chinese run everything that is real here dont fool yourself into thinking we can produce everything ourselves. A weapon must fire every time, even the company owner tells you we are no match for a us company. why should we arm our military with cheaply made weapons? get a brain guys.

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