THE three-day National Special Weapon and Tactics (Swat) competition kicked off Thursday morning (March 1) at Team Davao Firing Range, Diversion Road Ma-a, Davao City, as part of the Philippine National Police's (PNP) effort for the capability building of its forces to counter security threats.

The event was attended by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The first PNP Swat Challenge will run from March 1 to 3 hosted by the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao in partnership with Team Davao Inc., Philippine Association of Rifle Enthusiasts and Philippine Shooters and Match Officers Confederation.

The activity is in line with the PNP's Master Training Action Plan for Calendar Year (CY) 2018, which aims to enhance the "effectiveness and efficiency" as well as the tactical proficiency of Swat units.

The PNP is also putting emphasis on upgrading its operational capability to respond to armed situations. The competition will be participated by more than 50 teams coming from PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other law enforcement units all over the country.

"This is going to be highly competitive. A three-day action packed competition among the best Swat units of the PNP all over the country and the highly-trained elite tactical units of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force," PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa said.

He added that surprise awards and prizes shall be given by their commander-in-chief, President Duterte.

In an interview with PRO-Davao Director Manuel Gaerlan, he urged the people of Davao City to show their hospitality to participants who are coming from different areas in the country.

This will be an avenue to take center stage the capabilities of different Swat units of the government security forces and share best practices with colleagues, he said.

"First of all, we observe, makikita natin, training-wise, makikita natin yong counterparts natin and friendly competitions siyempre ma-approximate mo yong reality hindi lang practice ng practice," he said.

Gaerlan underscored that the preparation is far from reality, thus with this competition, they see to it that the scenarios will be closer to reality to witness the capabilities of elite forces to respond to call of security intervention.

In Davao region, he said there will be Swat units per province and also from PRO-Davao headquarters. The Davao City Police Office Swat team is also competing.