Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Best Pinagsanib SWAT grads 
to lead AFP anti-drugs opns

TAGBILARAN CITY, February 28 (PIA)--The past month may have seen a lull in the local anti-drugs war, but now, expect some change. 

If the suspension of police in anti-drug operations dealt a huge setback in the anti drug war, the undermanned Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the lead role, and the army being thrown into the task they were not trained for, arrests which then happened daily, ebbed. 

Both the military and the PDEA are not equipped to wrestle the immensity of the beast that the drug problem has mutated, a Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) member commented at the February 2016 drug war accomplishment.

Last Tuesday however, two teams of nine squads from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) completed the 77 days 496 hours of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) along with 46 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

The full 72 hours training course equips the AFP with 18 men some serious capability to handle a variety of crisis situations in urban warfare, counter-terrorism, urban assault, hostage taking, close quarter combat and a menu of aggressive breaches of closed structures, said PNP Deputy regional Director for Administration PCSupt. Franklin Moises Mabanag. 

Coming in as keynote speaker and guest in the possibly first in the country joint training for AFP and the PNP, General Mabanag hailed Bohol for the rare convergence of police and army and assured that the PNP still has some more skills for the trained group which has just been enthroned to the ranks of the police elites. 

All belonging to Class 32-2016, Class Pinagsanib is actually a team of 63 men and a woman survivor of the converged PNP and AFP men and women from the initial 72 who showed at the start of the training in November of last year. 

But when police SWAT have been feared for their strategic planning and offensives, this batch may have an ace in its sleeves. 

Two of the top three performing graduates come from the AFP ranks. 

Army 2Lts Giovanni Payumo and Michael Imperial took the top and the third spot among the 64 graduates who have successfully racked up points in theory, physical fitness and psychological strength tests to be rated the top among elites. 

And another thing, from the ranks of the Army SWAT team is the batch's fire-arms proficiency expert: Corporal Kurt Agapito, who received a Certificate of Proficiency. 

The three from the 18 officers and men of the AFP would now be leading their teams in keeping up with the presidential mandate to lead anti-drug operations in Bohol. 

47IB Commander Colonel Jose Dodgie Belloga, in fact reported at the PPOC that they would have to commit their two squads for the anti-drug operations. 

"We are deploying 2 army squads graduating from the SWAT course to support the campaign against drugs," Col Belloga said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Pain shows in how police and army men earn the SWAT badge. Here, a SWAT trainor affixes the SWAT badge to a graduate by palm-pounding the badge with pins on to the breast of the graduate so they will wear it with pride. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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