Three Igorots are among the 7 man-team of SAF-Seaborne who emerged Champion during the 5-day Panthers Challenge Competition 2022 held at Headquarters in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan. They were PMSg Jonathan F. Fatawil, and PCpl Jerome P. Gakayen, both from Sadanga, Mountain Province and PCpl Markelly N. Chale from Itogon, Benguet.
This is the first time Special Action Force championed a competition challenge designed by FSRR. It is said that this is also the first time, commandos are allowed to participate in the FSRR activities. In the case of SAF-Seaborne 's team who participated in the event, 2 are SAF rangers and 5 are commandos.
Their team garnered a stunning record with an overall total of 84.41% that falls into the Silver Category. They beat 11 other teams from the different elite forces of the Philippines such as the Philippine Marines, Philippine Navy, Philippine Airforce, Scout Rangers from the Philippine Army, and Special Forces. They also surpassed the overall rating of the First Scout Ranger Regiment who meticulously designed the activities.
The event is composed of 9 different competencies in combat operations which include Confidence Course, Mission Briefing, Land Navigation, River Crossing with Knot Tying, Close Quarter Battle with Demolition, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Radio Communication, Stress Test Firing and Rucksack March.
SAF-Seaborne started with high spirits where they garnered a high rating in Confidence Course. Unfortunately, they slumped down in Land Navigation, but emerged stronger and more focused in the next levels. Their score goes continuously upward in the other events that follow.
Philippine Army Brigadier General Freddie T. Dela Cruz in his commendation letter said that their performance during the series of activities reflects the elites' unmatched skills, stamina, and spirit drawn from a high level of training, discipline, and hard work. PMSg. Fatawil added that it was the strong team effort they had and the presence of the Almighty that led them to finish the activity with great success.
Among the 12 elected best warriors from the different forces of the Philippines only two made it to the Silver Category - first is the SAF-Seaborne and second is the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion. All other groups reached the bronze category that ranged from 76.95 percent - 81.30 percent.
The initial awarding was done on November 18, 2022. However, the formal awarding of winners was conducted on November 25, 2022, in the presence of Hon. Jose Faustino Jr., the secretary of National Defense as Guest Speaker.