PNP evaluates skills of SWAT personnel

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has started conducting evaluation of the capabilities of all Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and other police tactical units nationwide.

The move was a direct result of a bungled police rescue attempt by a SWAT team from the Manila Police District (MPD) of victims of the 11-hour hostage-taking incident in Luneta, Manila last August 23.

Eight Chinese tourists and the lone hostage-taker, a dismissed member of the MPD, were killed in the unsuccessful rescue operation that caused a major international embarrassment for the country.

PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo issued the order for the reassessment and reevaluation of all police tactical units nationwide.

“The PNP chief wants to known if all members of our tactical units on the ground are fit and qualified to be reassigned on that kind of unit,” PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said in an interview yesterday.

Cruz said the team that will perform the evaluation are composed of cadre instructors from Special Action Force (SAF), the PNP’s elite strike unit.

“They will check and reevaluate each individual members of our tactical units on the ground for their skills, capability, qualifications and, of course, their physical well-being,” Cruz said.

To be reassessed and reevaluated by SAF’s cadre instructors are members of the various Regional Special Action Unit (RSAU), Police Safety Mobile Battalions (PSMB) and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).

Earlier, a reassessment of all SWAT units in five police districts of National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) has revealed that nearly 80 percent of its 418 members were physically unfit and lack fundamental skills.  Anthony Vargas

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