The Special Action Force is the National Mobile Unit of the Philippine National Police. It is formed along the lines of the British Army (SAS) Special Air Service, but with different recruitment and selection procedures. The SAF, over the years, has received training from the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and Critical Incident Response Group, RAID by the French and YAMAM by the Israeli commando's. The Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) of the PNP-SAF is responsible for nationwide Police Counter-terrorism (CT) operations nationwide.
Members or Police trainees who undergo SAF training undergo several special military combat related training such as Basic Airborne Course training, Urban Counter Revolutionary Warfare(SURESHOCK), SCUBA-BUSROC (Basic Under-Water Search and Rescue Operations Course) and Internal Security (COMMANDO course).
SAF members who are distributed either regionally or within Metro Manila are furthermore assigned to SWAT units or SWAT training units. SAF operators are trained at their camp at Fort Sto. Domingo with its Air Unit stationed at the PNP Hangar in Pasay City.
The SAF has an official magazine known as "Tagaligtas".
Created on May 12, 1983 by the former Philippine Constabulary as the Philippine Constabulary Special Action Force as a requirement of General Order 323 of Philippine Constabulary Headquarters, Fidel Ramos and Renato de Villa were the founders of the unit. De Villa asked Col. Rosendo Ferrer and Gen. Sonny Razon to organize a Special Action Force. After which, a training program called the SAF Ranger Course, was used to train the 1st generation of SAF operators, which had a number of 149 operatives. Out of them, 26 were known commissioned officers. Later on, they changed the name of the course to the SAF Commando Course.
Initially formed to battle against NPA and former MNLF guerillas in the late 1980s and early 1990s, their tasks have been expanded to battle against organized criminal groups, terrorists, guerrillas and common criminals.
During the days of the EDSA Revolution, Fidel Ramos was involved in planning an operation called "Exercise Ligtas Isla" (Exercise Save Island) in case either Imelda Marcos or Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver would take over ruling from Ferdinand Marcos, who had been ill during the last few days of the Revolution.
For the first time, SAF operators are involved in the Balikatan exercises in 2009 since American and Filipino troops are usually involved.
About Our Class (PNP-SAF Class 01-96)
In 1996, The PNP Special Action Force opened its doors to a new batch of police recruits to beef up the personnel strength of SAF. As always whenever SAF opens its recruitment only a few dares to accept the challenge because of the rigid training, seniority, and stone strong traditions (that some ill motivated people or those who have personal intentions have tried to remove those tradition so that they can penetrate the brotherhood).
After a rigorous process of recruitment, a new batch of more or less 250 strong, courageous, and determined young SAF Recruits took their oaths and immediately begun the training. The class was divided into four (4) groups that took oath in August, September and October of 1996. Sometime in November, these young warriors were shuttled to the TACTICAL TRAINING CONTROL UNIT of SAF at Fort Sto Domingo, Sta Rosa, Laguna. Trained by the chosen group of Officer Instructors, Assistant/Lane Instructors, the class underwent the traditional rigid training accorded to budding SAF troopers and the rest is history.
At present, the members of Class 01-96 is assigned to various PNP units. Mostly holding sensitive positions, and some had proven their worth and became Commissioned Officers. THE CLASS 01-96 STILL CONTINUES TO EXCEL IN THEIR CHOSEN FIELDS AND AIMS TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF PUBLIC SERVICE WITH THE HELP OF THE ALMIGHTY