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Cotabato City reporter donates pet to AFP K-9 unit

John Unson on Thursday donated Trigger, his two-year-old Belgian Malinois, to the AFP K-9 Unit in Cotabato City for security missions in the city.

MANILA, Philippines — A dog owner in Cotabato City has turned over his pet to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is hoping others will do the same to help boost the military's corps of bomb-sniffing dogs.

John Unson, a reporter for The STAR in Central Mindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, donated Trigger, his two-year-old Belgian Malinois, to the AFP K-9 Unit in Cotabato City on Thursday on the condition that the dog will be used in security missions in the city.

Unson said the gesture was his expression of his love for the country and citizens and of his sympathy to the fallen soldiers and police officers of the Marawi conflict.

“Most importantly, [this gesture is] to suit my desire to help protect the country’s tri-people and visiting foreigners and immigrants from harm that violent religious extremists can do using improvised explosive devices,” he said in his deed of donation.

Tri-people refers to the Christians, Muslims and Lumads.

READ: PSG hopes 'slight shortage' of K-9s will be addressed

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“Goodbye, Trigger. Save lives. May your Army K-9 handler train you to the best he can. Help prevent deadly IED attacks, Trigger. We in the house will miss you. [I] am hoping breeders of pedigree dogs in Cotabato City will also show love for country and its Muslim, Christian and Lumad citizens by donating potential bomb-sniffers to the AFP and PNP's K-9 units,” he said on his Facebook post.

The AFP and other security forces also use native dogs, or "Asong Pinoy", in their K9 units. 

In  2015, the Army awarded Roy, a mix of Asong Pinoy and Labrador, for helping in the search and retrieval operations in Mankayan, Benguet after a landslide there.

Roy, an Army K-9, receives a star for helping in search-and-rescue operations in Benguet in 2015.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte declared that Marawi City had been liberated from ISIS-inspired terrorists.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared an end to combat operations in Marawi, noting that government troops have finished the last group of Maute stragglers.

According to Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Force Ranao, 920 militants and 165 civilians were killed in the five-month crisis.

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