CATBALOGAN CITY -- The Army's 20th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Eastern Visayas received 444 R4 assault rifles as part of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Major General Velarmino, 8th Infantry Division (ID) commander, entrusted the weapons to replace the old M16 rifle issued to the troopers.
“This entrustment (of R4 assault rifles) symbolizes great responsibility. This is one of the major programs of the AFP modernization to upgrade the mission -- essential capability requirements of the AFP in terms of firepower for grounds under the joint Philippine Army–Philippine Navy (Marines) assault rifle acquisition projects,” Velarmino said.
The 20th IB was chosen as the first in the region to acquire the new weapon, “because they were the ones who were able to finish the training course for this weapon upgrade.”
The R4 is the version of M4 Assault Rifle by Remington defense that will serve as replacement of the old models of rifle that are already in poor condition, the Army official said.
The early models of M16 and M16A-1, also known as the Armalite and Baby Armalite rifles, will be turned over to the Army’s reserve command and members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu).
“Lighter yet powerful, gas-operated weapon and uses a trigger mechanism with fire selector and safety button, this weapon is ideally designed for troops in the ground especially those in the frontlines,” Velarmino added.
He said providing soldiers with modern military hardware and training is essential in performing their mission.
“One of the most important elements of a strong democratic country is strong and reliable armed forces. Thus, it is imperative that its soldiers are equipped with modern military hardware and provided with advanced military training in order to successfully perform its mission,” Velarmino said, as he addressed his troopers assembled at the 8ID Open Field on Wednesday.
The region’s top military commander said the “handover” will not only boost the morale of the soldiers but will also enhance their combat proficiency and organizational performance. “More so, that we are in the forefront of our counterinsurgency operations and campaign to win just and lasting peace and development in the country.”
More 5.56mm R4 assault rifle worth P38,000 each will be distributed within the first quarter of 2016 for the nearly 3,000 Army troopers comprising the seven more battalions stationed in Leyte, Samar, and parts of Cebu City. (Sunnex)