Cop dies during PNP-SAF training in Bataan

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A cop died during an intensive Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) training course in Bataan on Thursday, April 26.

Morong town police chief Senior Inspector Dennis Revillas confirmed the death of Police Inspector Richardson Urmatan, who drowned during a water training exercise.

"Nag-conduct po ng CPR 'yung mga officers nila, health personnel ng CPR, then tinransfer sa James Gordon Hospital Olongapo, kung saan declared dead on arrival (Their officers and health personnel conducted CPR then transferred him to the James Gordon Hospital Olongapo where he was declared dead on arrival)," Revillas told Rappler in a phone interview on Friday, April 27.

Revillas said it was still unclear if Urmatan had a health condition that could have made him vulnerable to drowning.

Urmatan belonged to the PNP Academy Lakandula Class of 2015. In Sardines ang Favorite (Sardines is the Favorite), a Facebook group managed by SAF commandos, Urmatan is remembered to be a "full blooded SAF trooper" even beyond death.



The incident comes at a time when new PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is proposing to require all cops to undergo SAF training.

In a statement sent to Rappler, Albayalde said he extends his prayers and condolences to Urmatan and his family.

"It's really very unfortunate that a very young and promising officer dies in training. Rest assured that we will investigate the incident not only to pinpoint responsibility but also make improvements in our training program to avoid similar incidents in our future trainings," Albayalde said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.