Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte promised on Friday to buy brand-new military equipment to fight twin Maoist and Muslim rebellions, and no longer accept second-hand weapons from the United States.
Over the last two weeks, some 3,000 security personnel have been battling about 400 pro-Islamic State militants who had taken over a southern city. The forces are using refurbished U.S. planes, armored vehicles and assault rifles.
“I will no longer accept second-hand military equipment,” Duterte told soldiers at an army base on the southern island of Mindanao. “I do not want those given by the Americans. During my time, I will not have second-hand ships. It has to be brand new.”
Duterte said he would acquire new and modern weapons systems “even if I have to spend double the money,” and would look at buying equipment such as planes, boats, drones and guns from China and Russia, traditional rivals of its closest ally, the United States.