Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde sees a growing role in the future for the elite Special Action Force (SAF) which celebrated its 35th founding anniversary Tuesday in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
Speaking before the SAF personnel and alumni, the PNP chief urged the unit to continue with its “culture of heroism and gallantry ” as he noted the successful participation of the unit in last year’s siege of Marawi City where 500 SAF troopers saw action, resulting in 60 wounded and four troopers killed.
From starting as a single batallion, the PNP-SAF has grown to eight batallions with an additional five batallions being planned under the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is still the elite force of the PNP,” Albayalde told reporters adding that recent years will see the frontline unit better equipped to handle its mission on the frontline in the fight against terrorism.
Aside from terrorism and high risk warrant service mission, the SAF was chosen by the president to guard the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa where hardened criminals run the illegal drugs trade from behind bars.
The unit was originally put up in the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC) as Philippine Constabulary Special Action Force (PCSAF) under former generals Fidel Ramos and Renato De Villa.
Col. Rosendo Ferrer and Maj. Avelino Razon Jr. led the initial batch of men which underwent the PCSAF Ranger Course. In January 29, 1991, Republic Act 6975 a law reorganizing the national police changed the name of the SAF from PCSAF to PNPSAF.
In his speech, Albayalde recalled his own decision as a fledgling second lieutenant to enter the SAF upon the promise that “it is where the action is”.Albayalde urged the unit to protect its own good name and help the PNP create a better image with the public. PNA