Philippines acquires Israel-made howitzers to battle terror

The weapons are Israel-manufactured 155-mm 39 caliber howitzers (M-71).

Philippine troops rescue Filipino ship captain abducted by militants
Philippines troops in action. Reuters

The Philippine government, through the Department of National Defense, has acquired almost a dozen of Israel-manufactured 155-mm 39 caliber howitzers (M-71) and will be temporarily housed at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Manila.

Elbit Systems Land, an Israel-based company won the bidding to supply the howitzers to the Philippines and to be used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Military told Philippine journalists that three howitzers will be deployed to the Philippine Marines and six others will be assigned to the Philippine Army. The howitzers will be used against rising terror groups in the country.

The Israel company won the contract after complying with the bidding procedures. The cost of the project is P 438.62 million or USD 8.8 million. Around 249 pieces of 155-mm artillery shells were also incorporated in the deal.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that his administration will be pushing to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the goal of making the Philippine military one of the sophisticated military organizations in Southeast Asia.

Aside from the newly-acquired howitzers, China also provided the Philippine soldiers 3,000 assault rifles to use against the militants in the Southern Philippines.

The AFP is presently empowered to use its military might to suppress terror as a result of the 60-day martial law declared on May 23. Martial Law is expected to end on July 22 but the Philippine National Police (PNP) recommended to the President to extend the period of Martial law for another 60 days.

National Police Director Ronaldo Dela Rosa said the police organization is pushing for the extension because the illegal drug industry is giving rise to radical terrorism in the Philippines.

Martial Law allows Philippine security forces to arrest terrorist and rebel suspects even in the absence of a court warrant. Many terrorist and rebel suspects have already been arrested from ports, highways and airports.