12 OCTOBER 2023, MANILA — The construction of the joint K9 Academy of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is nearing completion as inspected by PPA General Manager Jay Santiago today October 12, 2023 in Brngy Dolores, Sitio Bana, Mabalacat, Pampanga. 

PPA GM Santiago, inspected the ongoing construction of the K9 Academy which will be the first in Southeast Asia and is set to cater at least 128 K9 dogs and 100 handlers once completed. 

“Nasa 75% completion na po itong K9 academy since nag-ground breaking tayo rito noong August 2021. Bagamat may kaunting delay dahil nga nagka-pandemic pero ngayon ay tuloy tuloy na po ang construction ito. This will benefit not only our agency dahil this is the first K9 dedicated academy in Southeast Asia so we are really looking forward to our contributions in the security aspect in terms of detection and apprehension of narcotics, explosives, and agricultural smuggling, especially because our ports are our main gateways”, said Santiago.

The K9 Academy is capable of providing all quality training and techniques, and best practices for the skills of dogs, breeding, maintenance, and veterinary care. The academy is inclusive of five (5) organizations including the Canine Development Center, Canine School, Canine Breeding Center, Canine Hospital, and Kennel Management and Biosecurity.

Other than the PPA Port Police and the PCG, the K9 Academy can also cater to other government agencies’ future K9 requirements. “Its about time na magkaroon tayo ng sariling training ground para sa mga K9 units natin na magagamit po natin sa mga pantalan natin lalo na’t balik na rin ang dami ng pasahero ngayon after the pandemic at nalalapit na rin yung peak season natin ngayong Undas, pasko, at bagong taon. Napakalaking bagay na mayroon tayong karagdagang security forces through our K9 units”, GM Santiago added. 

The academy can produce K9 units that are highly efficient in Search and Rescue (SAR), bomb threat detection, and fugitive apprehension. With this, the PPA is set to save up to Php 40 million of its annual budget from hiring private working dogs and K9 handlers to maintain port security.

“Sa ngayon po kasi nasa 500+ pa lang ang K9 units natin nationwide, mas mainam kung madadagdagan pa ito para na rin sa safety at seguridad ng mga pasahero sa pantalan. Dito kasi sa K9 academy ang intensyon is since marami ring aso na ite-train ma’am so yung magiging facility na for vet at for laboratory natin ma’am makakatulong siya para dun sa mga aso natin na ite-train para healthy sila ma’am at makaka-graduate sila na magamit natin yung optimum capacity ng mga aso. Sa breeding naman, ang intensyon is magcreate ng line na tayo na mismo ang in-house breeding at in-house training.”said Coastguard Commander Ma. Bonissa Ole,  logistics officer, Coast Guard K9 force. 

The groundbreaking of the K9 Academy was held on Aug. 25, 2021 and had an initial budget allocation of P100 million provided by the PPA. Full utilization of the K9 Academy is set on the 1st quarter of 2024.