ARMSCOR’s 19th TACS Expo highlights PH self-reliant defense posture

ARMSCOR Global Defense Inc. (AGDI), the leading manufacturer of firearms, ammunition and defense products in the Philippines and one of the largest in Asia, opened its 19th Tactical, Survival and Arms (TACS) Expo with a strong call for a self-reliant defense posture (SRDP) program that would develop a local defense industry to lessen the country’s dependence on foreign suppliers for the defense requirements of its armed services.

Expressing his support for the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Revitalization Act or Senate Bill 2455, AGDI president and CEO Martin Tuason recalled a period when the private sector was able to supply the needs of the country’s armed services from uniforms to vehicles to rifles and pistols, firearms as well as mortars, grenades and millions of rounds of small arms ammunition through the government’s self-reliant defense posture (SRDP) program first initiated in 1974.

When the government discontinued the SRDP program in the late 1980s, only ARMSCOR managed to survive out of the 20 private companies that took part, as the company decided to work on the commercial market in the Philippines and build its business abroad by exporting its products.

Today, the Marikina-based manufacturer has almost 2,000 workers, exporting to over 60 countries across six continents with facilities in Nevada, Montana and Utah in the United States. It produces around 250,000 firearm units of various calibers annually. Aside from firearms, it also manufactures ammunition, averaging over 700 million rounds in a year.

According to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who graced the opening of the four-day event that ran from November 29 to December 2 at the SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City, Senate Bill 2455 would prioritize Filipino-made weapons systems and “level the playing field” as it would remove the 12 percent Value Added Tax automatically imposed on locally-manufactured defense products.

Zubiri recalled the time during the Marawi siege in May 2017 when government forces ran out of bullets for M16s and other ammunition such as the 5.56, the 7.62, and mortar rounds. Zubiri said then-President Rodrigo Duterte had to call up contacts abroad, but foreign suppliers were unable to deliver on time.

“It was only ARMSCOR that was able to deliver and open their bodega (warehouse). Had it not been for ARMSCOR, it would have been a longer fight for our government forces,” the Senate President disclosed.

With conflicts happening around the globe, the Philippines can no longer rely on foreign suppliers to deliver ammunition, firearms and other weapons systems to the Armed Forces when they need it, stressed Zubiri, who authored Senate Bill 2455 along with Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva and Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Imee Marcos, Sherwin Gatchalian and Mark Villar.

Reiterating his support for the SRDP bill, Tuason said this will not only enhance the country’s defense capability but would also create thousands of jobs for Filipinos whom he praised for being “the best and most hardworking.”


Related posts

Leave a Comment