Issue of September 4, 2016
Mt. Province

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Review team gives high rating for Cordillera K9 SAR Team
by Harley F. Palangchao

READY FOR A MISSION -- The 18 pioneering members of the Cordillera K9 Search and Rescue Team and their 17 canines garnered a high passing rate during a third party evaluation of their capabilities in search and rescue over the weekend. The team members had their graduation rites at PAF TOG1 headquarters after one year of rigid training. -- Redjie Cawis


The pioneering 18 members and the 17 canines of the Cordillera K9 Search and Rescue Team were given high passing rate by elite members of a third party evaluation team.

The evaluation team were K9 experts from the 710th Special Operations Wing, 525th Philippine Army and the Philippine Coast Guard.

The K9 SAR members and their trained dogs displayed their capabilities and readiness to respond to disaster particularly finding people trapped in rubbles and debris during demonstration at the Scout Barrio camping grounds on Aug. 28.

Incessant rains failed to dampen the spirit of the Cordillera K9 SAR members, who are military and police personnel and civilian volunteers, who trained for one year on search, rescue and retrieval operations.

The creation of the Cordillera K9 SAR Team was made possible through partnership between the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group 1 under Lt. Col. Onorlie Brillantes and Cordillera Office of Civil Defense Dir. Andrew Alex Uy.

The Baguio City Police Office, Police Regional Office-Cordillera, and the Philippine Military Academy are also part of the core group that formed the K9 SAR Team.

“While we feel that members of the K9 SAR Team and trained dogs are ready and capable to be deployed in disaster-stricken areas, we still need to test their capabilities through an independent third party evaluation team,” Brillantes said.

The 18 dog handers and their K9 are Col. Joel Sobrera with Peanut, Capt. Dave Agelittud with Blaster, Staff Sgt. Renante Rillera with Jangga, PO3 Arnold Daisa with Usman, PO3 Francis Ferdinand Facunla with Precious, PO2 Marlon Salinas with Max, PO2 Arman Accangan with Bullet, PO1 Bran Agustin with Shellane, and PO1 Eric Accatan with Jackson.

The members from the private sector are Clemente Kamura with Greo, Alvin Steve Olat with Kin, Giovanni Victor Domingo with Scar, Denver Ayodoc with Lycan, Cyrus Backeng with Zeus, William Aquino with Alfa, Noel Nacilla with Mitch, Louie Glenn Lardizabal with Swiper, and Clarence Basiwal.

Recently, members of the Cordillera K9 SAR Team were responsible in retrieving the body of a missing farmer in La Trinidad, Benguet on Aug. 8.

The idea of merging government forces and civilians to form the Cordillera K9 SAR team was brought to the fore last year in wake of the previous disasters, especially typhoon that hit most parts of the Cordillera in recent years.

Baguio, Benguet and Mountain Province were hard hit by Typhoon Pepeng in October 2009 resulting in several deaths and missing persons while almost a billion worth of government and private properties were damaged beyond repair.

Typhoons Ineng and Lando also hit the region in 2015 resulting in the death of more or less 60 while thousands of families were affected due to landslides, ground subsidence, and flash floods.

The region’s vulnerability to disaster saw the need to form a public-private K9 SAR team to respond to emergencies through the effort of the Search Rescue Retrieval cluster of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

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