The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted a K9-unit basic handler’s course with 22 participants from the Agency and counterparts from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine National Police-Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PNP PRO-COR) and Philippine Marines.

“The 12-week course enabled the participants to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and techniques in handling narcotics detection dogs (NDDs) and acquaint them with scenarios that require K9 operations and special tactics, including greyhound operations in correctional facilities, check-point operations and airport and seaport interdictions,” said PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino.

The graduation ceremony of the PDEA K9 Basic Handlers Course Class 2017-03 was held on November 9, 2017 at the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City.

The PDEA K9-unit has 52 strong NDDs composed of 32 Belgian Malinoises, five Jack Russell Terriers, 11 Labrador Retrievers, two German Shepherds and two Golden Retrievers, and 57 handlers in 17 regions nationwide.

Aquino said that the Canine Handler’s Course allowed the participants to familiarize themselves with substances subject for detection; understanding of K9 behavior and the five basic freedoms of animals, receive training regarding search patterns and to detect hazards; basic knowledge in airport and port operations and safety guidelines, among others.

“These canines, when properly trained and ably assisted by humans, can be inexpensive, low technology but proven indispensable assets against the ongoing drug problem in the country,” the PDEA chief said.

PDEA has requested for an additional P934 million budget in 2018 to finance several projects in the pipeline, which includes the acquisition of 13 NDDs with training worth P500,000 each.