Legazpi City, Coast Guard to train dogs for calamity response

LEGAZPI CITY – The Legazpi City government and the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) has started this Tuesday, November 8, the six-month training of hybrid dogs for search and rescue operations and sniffing of bombs and other explosives.

City Veterinary Office (CVO) chief Emmanuel Estipona in an interview on Monday said at least 16 dogs have passed the screening phase and will undergo daily training before they could be deployed as additional force multipliers in response efforts during natural calamities.

“We have the plan to use the 100-square meter dog pound in Barangay San Roque as the training place for these dogs while the Coast Guard is also looking for a K-9 training center,” Estipona said.

He said the PCGA will handle the training of eight dogs for search and water rescue while selected police officers will be in charge of explosives training for another eight dogs.

Estipona said aside from the training of dogs, the trainers will also give lectures to dog owners to impart additional knowledge on how to properly care for the dogs after training sessions.

He said the pet owners must also be part of rescue and response efforts during disaster scenarios so they can also help give security to some tourists and local visitors in the city.

Estipona said part of the training is for combating terrorism and criminality.

Mayor Geraldine Rosal said the city is the first local government unit in the country to implement the K-9 program in partnership with the PCGA to train the dogs for rescue operations.

“After the training, the trained dogs would be part of the rescue operations, particularly during every calamity and these would also be used to secure venues of convention and seminars including terminal and other tourist destinations of the city,” Rosal said in an interview.

She said she is grateful to all the dog owners, noting that the program is part of volunteerism to save people’s lives, particularly the victims of natural calamities. I via Emmanuel Solis