IN a bid to further secure Philippine entry points, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority bared plans to setup a dog training academy at the Butuan-Bancasi Airport in Agusan del Norte.
CAAP Director General William K. Hotchkiss said the plan to setup a K9 academy was bared during the CAAP’s 38th Management Meeting in Butuan City last April 11. He said the selected dogs will be trained to be bomb and illegal narcotics sniffers.
The dogs will also be trained as bird trackers to prevent bird strikes on airplanes. Hotchkiss noted that while the airports have noise-producing equipment to shoo away birds from the runways, the birds grow immune to the sound which increases the possibility of bird strikes.
He added the dogs can also serve as deterrents to runway incursions, which pose a hazard to landing and taking off aircraft.
Furthermore, Hotchkiss said the trained dogs will be deployed in the 44 international and domestic airports nationwide.
According to K9 unit head trainer Jojo Cubillo, the use of dogs for dispersing birds, will be a very effective in the CAAP-managed commercial airports where flights are intermittent.
“The dogs have to be trained for this so they will be disciplined enough to return to their handlers after driving away birds or stray animals and they will have the stamina to run across the runways,” Cubillo said.
Meanwhile, Hotchkiss credited the efforts of CAAP Area XII manager Evageline Daba in producing 10 active bomb-sniffing and narcotics detecting dogs, all of which were assigned to the five airports in Central Mindanao area.
“Her development of a K9 unit is so effective that her effort has been widely acknowledge by the Local Government Units in her jurisdiction,” Hotchkiss said.
Daba’s initiative has caught the interest of the community which has responded positively by donating more dogs to expand the K9 unit pool, the CAAP added.
“They know it is for the good of the community so they are pitching in. The K9 unit is ultimately for their own welfare because having safe and secure airports in the region would usher in economic growth,” Hotchkiss said.