Army shows off capability to handle disasters, thwart insurgents’ attacks
By Rhaydz B. Barcia
PILI, Camarines Sur --- Under the heat of the sun while in full battle gear, the members of the Philippine Army in Bicol showed off their ability to manage disasters and the proficiency to stage counter-insurgency assaults that one can mark as significantly effective.
The incident happened when the Philippine Army (9th Infantry “Spear” Division) based in this capital town had the opportunity to spent a day with the members of the media who were overwhelmed by the troopers’ capability and preparedness to endure and serve in times of disaster or any incident that may greatly affect peace and order situation.
Frank Roldan, spokesman of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said that they are constantly enhancing disaster readiness by way of a series of trainings. K9 dogs are being trained also to be able to assist in bomb detection and disaster response measures.
A tree planting activity participated in by the members of the media and the government troops preceded the demo along with the presentation of Army Transformation Roadmap and AFP organization lectures, fun shoot, and the election of the new set of officers of the 9th ID Regional Press Corps.
The Philippine Coast Guard in Bicol also trained 11 hybrid dogs for search and rescue (SAR) and sniffing of bombs and other explosives in Cagraray Island in Bacacay town in Albay.
Petty Officer 1 Lester Bidar, chief master at arms of the Coast Guard K-9 Field operating unit and in charge of the Narcotic Detection of Dogs in Bicol, said that all dogs have passed the Legazpi City Search and Rescue Detection Dog Organization and Explosive (LESSARDO) training and could now be considered as effective working dogs for rescue operations in landslides, volcanic eruptions, and other forms of natural calamities.
Bidar said that the dogs’ 6-month training started in November 2022 and will end on May 12, 2023 with a formal graduation ceremony to be conducted at the district office of PCGA in Albay. The graduating dogs will be accompanied by their handlers.
The PCG official said that 11 hybrid dogs will undergo evaluation by the members of the K-9 force from the office of the PCGA in Manila. The force will also visit the training ground as part of the final evaluation.
Dr. Emmanuel Estipona, chief of the City Veterinary Office (CVO) said that after the training, the city and PCG are also planning to train new dogs along with the pet owners from 70 villages of Legazpi City.
Estipona said that the establishment of the K-9 multiplier force was conceptualized in 2019 when Legazpi City was hit by Typhoon Rolly and the PCG was among the responders to the typhoon victims.
Estipona recalled that in 2006, four days after the occurrence of super typhoon Reming, a puppy was making a dig on the ground. After several minutes, the pup was able to uncover a nearly dying survivor that turned out to be a baby girl.
The city government of Legazpi is partnering with PCG in providing the K9 dogs with trainings in disaster risk response.