FOLLOWING the twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu that left scores of people dead and injured, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to expand the deployment of K9 units to cover all railway facilities and stations in Metro Manila.
The PCG will be deploying a total of 40 K9 units at the stations and facilities of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2), the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to augment security forces as these vital installations implement stricter security measures to prevent terrorist threats.
The K9 units are composed of K9 handlers, working dogs, veterinarians, and explosive ordinance disposal specialists, and are backed by operations officers as well as quick response teams. Dogs deployed with the PCG K9 units are highly-trained to detect explosives.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has called on the PCG to help ensure that PNR and the light rail train stations, that serve thousands of passengers on a daily basis amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are kept safe and secured.
“It is vital that we protect passengers from the threat of terrorism, even as we try to maintain public transportation operations amid the pandemic. This is where the expertise and training of the PCG K9 units will prove most effective,” said Transportation Secretary Tugade.
For his part, PCG Commandant Admiral George V. Ursabia Jr. said that the PCG is ready to provide assistance to strengthen the security at the various rail networks.
“The PCG K9 teams are ready to assist the security forces of these rail lines to deter and/or neutralize threats through higher visibility, enhanced response time, and to make the commuter riding experience more secure. We, however, ask for the public’s cooperation in this endeavor. Rest assured that the Coast Guard will remain selfless and committed in protecting the riding public against the danger of terrorism,” Admiral Ursabia Jr. emphasized.