Over a hundred rescuers from the government and volunteers, including family and friends, are digging on tons of mud, scouring the rivers, look on anything familiar such as clothes that float at the Magat reservoir, while dogs smell the surroundings to locate the remaining missing person in Ifugao.
The Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) did not just deploy police personnel but also the police canine (K9) unit who are trained for search, rescue, and retrieval operations and also provide service to the communities.
Capt. Marnie Abellanida, chief information officer of PROCOR, said on Wednesday that three K9 dogs were initially deployed but added one more to help find the person who went missing in a landslide at Viewpoint in Banaue, Ifugao during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses on November 12.
He said the canines — “Jackson”, “Penny”, “Idol” and “Panther”, all Belgian Malinois have been deployed along with their handlers for the search and retrieval operations since Day One of the search.
“Our dogs were trained to look for missing persons in rubbles. They are made to smell the clothes of a person, which scent they look for as soon as they are deployed to do their job,” Abellanida said.
Handled by the Regional Explosives Ordnance Division Canine Unit (RECU) of PROCOR, the dogs will sit down after smelling a familiar scent, and then the human rescuers will start to dig.
“Tumutulong sila na i-limit ang area na possible nandun ang hinahanap natin (they help limit the area where the missing person could be found),” the officer said.
“These dogs have been untiringly working alongside their handlers since Day One to find the missing persons,” he said
Dogs have been known not only as man’s best friend but also as law enforcement partners in tracking, drug and bomb detection, and search and rescue operations in times of calamities. They enter the service while still puppies and are given special skills training such as to smell specific items like illegal drugs, bombs, among others.
“As we recognize the bravery of the first responders and rescuers both from the government and civilian sector, we also should not forget the silent heroes who were working hard behind the scenes — our fur heroes from the PNP K9 units,” said BGen. R’Win Pagkalinawan in a press release sent to media on Wednesday.
“Truly, these furry creatures deserve to be called heroes too,” he said.
Banaue Mayor Wesley Dulawan, in a post on social media, said “end of Day Five”.
“Three larger composite teams continued the search today (Nov. 17) for the remaining victim. More than 58 searchers dug deeper and wider in Ground Zero until nightfall. Another team of 66 composite team members searched upstream from Linge, Kiangan, and came out through Hungduan after nightfall. And another composite team from Alfonso Lista Police Station, PMFC (Provincial Mobile Force Company), and Barangay Officials of Sto. Domingo and Halag, Aguinaldo initiated today a search in Magat Dam. All yielded a negative result. We will continue the search tomorrow,” he said.
Dulawan, a medical doctor by profession, has been updating the public every day through his Facebook account to apprise everyone of the effort to look for the remaining missing person. (PNA)