A 200-hectare jungle warfare training camp for the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is nearing sight amid ongoing talks between the PNP-SAF leadership and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Journal Group learned on Thursday.
According to PNP-SAF Director Brigadier General Edgar Alan O. Okubo, they held a coordinating meeting with Nilo B. Tomario, the regional executive director of the DENR Region 4-A in Calamba City in Laguna, to discuss the matter.
The official said that initially, the 200 hectares allocated for their jungle warfare training camp in Laguna had been reduced to 34 hectares only due to the overlapping contract between the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) and the Forestry Investment Portfolio Approach Project (FIPAP) of the government.
However, Okubo said they will push for a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the DENR to occupy the 34 hectares for jungle warfare training.
He said that once the IFMA and FIPAP contract ends in 2026, they will push for the expansion of the SAF training camp.
Okubo also said that more PNP-SAF personnel are undergoing “Revitalized-Pulis sa Barangay” or R-PSB training designed to bring the SAF “closer” to the people, specifically those living in so-called “Geographically Isolated and Disadvantageous Areas” or GIDAS in the country.
PNP-SAF commandos are already spread in some GIDAS in Bicol, Mimaropa (Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon), Samar, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Western Visayas, Sultan Kudarat, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon regions talking with local officials and the community to help the poor folks address their most common concerns including lack of potable drinking water, farm-to-market roads, schools, medical and school services and even their failure to get their baptismal certificates.
“We are establishing communications with all concerned government agencies, the police regional offices, and local government units to help bring real government service to the people, especially the poorest of the poor who have long been taken advantage of by ‘Enemies of the State’, particularly the New People’s Army,” Okubo told the Journal Group.