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SAF fighters tapped for NBP duties

Chief Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, incoming chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has agreed to deploy a battalion of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) to temporarily replace the prison guards of the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Dela Rosa said he had already discussed the SAF deployment with incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who was reported to put all the NBP prison guards to retraining for several months.

“The PNP will support the muscle, the firepower that the Aguirre needs. He is requesting a battalion of SAF to serve as prison guards and I said yes,” said Dela Rosa.

A battalion of SAF is composed of some 300 highly-trained and well-equipped policemen.

Both Dela Rosa and President-elect Rodrigo Duterte have been criticizing the NBP officials for weak leadership in the area that paves the way for convicted drug lords to continue with their illicit drug trade.

Dela Rosa said the SAF deployment at the NBP will continue until such time that the situation in the area is already stabilized, meaning, there will be no more illegal rugs transaction inside.

“Until such time that we confirmed that the illegal drug trade has already stopped, they will be there. But if they want to be permanent, then there’s no problem,” said Dela Rosa.

But Dela Rosa clarified that he wanted rotational basis in the deployment of SAF in the NBP, meaning, SAF men will be regularly replaced to avoid familiarity and good relationship with detained drug lords.

He said he also wants the military to deploy their own men in the NBP.

“After a period of time, the SAF men should be replaced with a battalion of Army to avoid familiarization with the drug lords inside,” said Dela Rosa.

Once the SAF takes over, Dela Rosa said that one of their targets is to deny the drug lords with the opportunity to communicate using cellular phones and other gadgets. (AARON RECUENCO)

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