SAF recruits nearly triple after Mamasapano tragedy
More individuals wanted to become Special Action Force commandos since the tragedy in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that claimed lives of 44 SAF troopers in an operation against international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.
The number of new SAF recruits doubled since the January 25 incident that drew public sympathy for the “SAF 44” as well as for the elite police unit, said SAF spokesperson Senior Inspector Jayson Baldos on Friday.
From around 200 recruits last year, Baldos said 546 policemen of Police Officer 1 ranks have joined the SAF from January until October.
And more than half of the 546 policemen came from Mindanao, Baldos said, adding that the recent surge of SAF recruits from the south reached a record high in the history of the unit.
“[The Mamasapano incident] brought positive outcome, especially in relation to our recruitment,” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
But despite the increase, the spokesperson said the SAF still fell short of its required number of recruits. As of latest figures, SAF has a strength of 4,300 personnel but they need to hire at least 5,000 policemen.
“We still have 700 slots for recruits that we need to fill up, that’s why we are frequently conducting recruitment programs,” he said.
The Mamasapano operation dubbed “Oplan Exodus” hogged the headlines after 44 SAF men, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front members and three civilians died in an 11-hour long gun battle between the commandos and Moro armed groups after the SAF raided Marwan’s hut in Barangay (village) Pidsandawan.
The incident also sparked public outrage and challenged President Benigno Aquino III’s administration after he allegedly allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to participate in the planning of “Exodus.” Top cabinet and police officials were also kept in the dark until the operation started. IDL
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