DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte led Thursday the opening of the three-day National SWAT Challenge here urging police and military to remain steadfast in their commitment to protect the Filipino people amid threat of terrorism especially in Mindanao.
“Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to protect our people, especially now that we are intensifying our fight against enemies of the state here in Mindanao,” President Duterte said during the event participated in by 60 teams from the police, military and other law enforcement agencies.
“Never lose sight of the fact that notwithstanding our resounding success in the liberation of Marawi, the decreased crime incidence nationwide and the growing public trust in our institutions, threats will persist and our people will depend on you, our law enforcers, to keep them safe and secure at all times,” he added.
The President commended the security forces for their skill and bravery and asked them to work closely together in order to successfully fulfill their task of protecting the nation.
“As we continue our work of maintaining peace and order across the nation, I direct the PNP, the AFP and other law enforcement agencies to work towards interoperability in your operations, professional training and capability development,” he said.
“A coordinated approach at law enforcement will certainly ensure the success of all your missions and minimize government and civilian casualties in all your operations,” he added.
Bringing together the best and the brightest policemen and soldiers in the country, the Chief Executive said the three-day competition “will not only showcase the skills and capabilities of the participants, but would also promote camaraderie, sportsmanship and competitiveness among our police and military personnel.”
“I thank our elite SWAT units for always being ready to take on critical, hazardous and complex crisis situations. Your grit and determination have made you ready to take on the challenging task of dealing with criminality, illegal drugs and terrorism,” he said.
“May you never waver in your commitment to ensure that every Filipino will go home every day feeling safe and secure in their communities, in their streets and in their homes,” he added.
The President reiterated that he will protect and support the military and the police for as long as they are performing their duties.
He likewise assured uniformed personnel of full medical care noting that he has provided funds to government hospitals such as Philippine General Hospital and Veterans Memorial Medical Center to ensure the best medical care for wounded and recovering troops.
Citing continuous threat government forces are facing from state enemies, President Duterte pledged to equip all soldiers with a handgun by July this year for their protection.
“By July, every soldier will have a handgun,” he said.
With regard to the illegal drug trade problem, Duterte renewed his commitment to put an end to it assuring that no government official under his term will be involved in the illegal activity.
“But remember that the drug situation is still very, very alive and vicious. But I will never, never until the end of my term, to the last day, allow a government official to use his power or position as a platform to engage in criminality, especially drugs,” he said.
The National SWAT Challenge was spearheaded by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. It is the first competition of its kind that is held nationally.
The competition which will run from March 1 to 3 aims to showcase tactical skills of the participants, in line with the PNP’s Master Training Action Plan for 2018 to “enhance the effectiveness and efficiency as well as the tactical proficiency of SWAT units.”
The winning team will receive P300,000; P200,000, second prize; and P100,000, third prize.
Individual winners will get P50,000. PND