The PNP SAF History

SAF was created on May 16, 1983 pursuant to General Order 323 of the Philippine Constabulary as the Philippine Constabulary Special Action Force (PC SAF). The then Philippine Constabulary Chief General Fidel V Ramos and Chief of Staff, AFP Renato de Villa were the founders of the unit. It is formed along the lines of the British Army Special Air Service (SAS). The 149 volunteers were composed of 26 commissioned officers and 123 enlisted personnel who came from a wide range of PC units such as the defunct PC brigades, PC Special Operations Group, the Light Reaction Unit of METROCOM, and the Constabulary off-shore Actions Command. They were trained under the program designed by the unit known as SAF Ranger Course which was later changed to SAF Commando Course. As part of the transition of the government, President Corazon Aquino signed Republic Act 6975 into law on January 29, 1991, the name of the unit were changed from PC SAF to Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF).

Initially, SAF was formed to battle against New People’s Army (NPA) and former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerillas in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Later, its functions were expanded to conduct operations in terrestrial, aerial and fluvial territories of the country. At present, SAF is the primary maneuver unit of the PNP mandated to conduct operations as a Rapid Deployment Force anywhere in the country especially in situations with national and international implications in the areas of COUNTERTERRORISM, COUNTERISURGENCY, HOSTAGE RESCUE, SEARCH AND RESCUE CIVIL DISTURBANCE MANAGEMENT and other SPECIAL OPERATIONS.

As a rapid deployment force, SAF established its forward operation bases strategically located in the three major islands of the country. The Rapid Deployment Battalion (RDB), Force Support Battalion (FSB), and 3rd Special Action Battalion (3SAB) are co-located with the Headquarters SAF based at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City; the 1st Special Action Battalion (1SAB) covers the CARAGA and some regions of the Western Mindanao; the 2SAB covers the areas of Central, Western and Northern Luzon; 4SAB on the other hand covers the areas of Region 11, 12 and some parts of ARMM (all in Central Mindanao) while the 5SAB covers the areas of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi (ZAMBASULTA) which are all in the South Western Mindanao and the 6SAB covers Panay Island and Negros Island in the Visayas region. The SAF Air Unit is presently stationed at the PNP Hangar Domestic Airport, Pasay City to provide air support to all PNP units.

The pressing demand to the combat insurgency, terrorism and criminality in order to ensure peace and order, internal security and political stability of the country pushed the National Government to expand SAF, owing to the known discipline, integrity, competency and capability of the unit. From a Battalion size unit, SAF was expanded into a Brigade size. Recently, Presidential Directive No. 2017-0316-0317 dated July 24, 2017, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the creation of addition five SAF (5) Battalions.