Months after Mamasapano incident, over 500 hopefuls join PNP-SAF

A Philippine flag flown at half-mast at Fernando Air Base Tuesday as soldiers mourn the death of 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force killed during an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. The MILF claims the clash Sunday erupted due to lack of coordination, when the elite cops tried to capture Malaysian bomb expert Marwan. (MNS photo)

A Philippine flag flown at half-mast at Fernando Air Base Tuesday as soldiers mourn the death of 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force killed during an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. The MILF claims the clash Sunday erupted due to lack of coordination, when the elite cops tried to capture Malaysian bomb expert Marwan. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – More than 500 hopefuls have enlisted to join the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF). According to the PNP-SAF Public Information Office (PIO), there were 548 trainees who enlisted for 2015. The latest batch, which consisted of 219 aspirants, took their oath on October 1. Meanwhile, over 300 did the same last July.

The number of new recruits showed a slight increase from 2014’s 504 trainees and five times the number of aspirants in 2013 with only 107 SAF hopefuls. However, the number is still lower than 2012’s 734 recruits.

PNP-SAF spokesperson Sr. Insp. Jayson Baldos said that the increase in recruits could be attributed to the heroism of the 44 SAF commandos who died during an operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January.

“Malaking bagay na in-idolize nila ang heroism ng SAF. Especially in the south, mas maraming nag-apply ngayong 2015. Maraming recruits na nanggaling ng Mindanao,” he said.

Inspired by uncle’s heroism

PO1 Carl Lester Cambel used to be a nurse. But he decided to join the SAF and took his oath with the latest batch.

When asked what made him choose the dangerous life of being a SAF commando, Cambel said that he was inspired by his uncle, a SAF police officer, who was killed during an encounter in North Cotabato in 2006.

“Noong buhay pa po siya, sinasabi niya po sa akin ang kalagayan ng Mindanao. Wala pong mga nurses na umaakyat sa bundok kasi takot po,” he said.

Although they have already started their training at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna, Cambel and the other SAF hopefuls would have to undergo another training after a year since the SAF is a unique elite police force. (MNS)

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