The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) welcomed 100 new K9 handlers and their drug-sniffing dog partners as the newest members of the K9 interdiction unit during the graduation ceremony, Wednesday at the Zemog K9 Training Center, Sitio Puting Bato, Inarawan, Antipolo City.

The new teams belonged to NAGTALAD, stands for Nagsanib na Tao at Aso Laban sa Droga (Joint Forces of Man and Dog against Drugs),” from the agency’s K9 Handlers’ Basic Course 2018-14.

According to PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino, the newly-acquired narcotic detection dogs and their handlers have undergone six months of intensive training to prepare them in anti-illegal drug operations.

He added that the man-dog teams will bolster PDEA’s monitoring and interdiction capabilities, most notably in airports and seaports, sweeping searches on baggage, cargoes and parcels, events monitoring, greyhound operations in jails and custodial facilities, and detection of New Psychoactive Substances commonly used as party drugs.

“The superior sense of smell of dogs, which is a thousand times stronger than humans, makes them a valuable tool in the detection of concealed illegal drugs. The dog’s natural capability, when properly trained and assisted by their handlers, continues to be an invaluable asset in the ongoing war against illegal drugs,” Aquino said.

The dogs were all spayed and neutered prior to deployment to prevent any unwanted breeding. Their training included learning the substances subject for detection, understanding K9 behavior, dog’s drive development, substance printing, indication to improve the dog’s ability to distinguish scents of illegal drugs, and scent discrimination to develop the dog’s ability to differentiate the odors of illicit substances, among others.

This latest batch of K9 training became the most extensive single procurement of new NDDs, and by far, the largest recruitment of K9 handlers in a single training course setting.

They will all be deployed to different PDEA Regional Offices and Seaport Interdiction Units nationwide. In total, there are 171 NDDs, while 37 retired hero dogs have been adopted by their new families. Four NDDs, on the other hand, were selected for the breeding program.

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