K9 security ops in Cotabato Airport intensified

John Unson - Philstar.com
K9 security ops in Cotabato Airport intensified
Police K9 handlers Executive Master Sgt. Ritche Sarzaba and Patrolman Edwin Adan, Jr. are roving around the Cotabato Airport on a periodic basis to insulate the facility from drug traffickers and terrorists.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Policemen guarding the Cotabato Airport have been visibly using, for a week now, explosives and narcotics detection dogs in guarding the facility following the seizure of big volumes of shabu from traffickers in this city and in towns around in recent weeks.

Officials of the Philippine National Police’s Aviation Security Explosives and Canine Unit at the Cotabato Airport in nearby Barangay Awang in Datu Odin Sinsuat town told reporters on Friday that their intensified K9 anti-terror and anti-illegal drugs operation is part of a joint police-military effort to protect the facility from being used as transshipment point for narcotics and from intrusion by terrorists.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Camp Gonzalo Siongco, less than 200 meters away from the Cotabato Airport, tightened extensively since last month the security here and in nearby provinces in anticipation of possible trouble that the few remaining members of the Dawlah Islamiya and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters could instigate to create an impression that the surrender of at least 783 members since 2022 has not weakened each other’s capability to pull off terror attacks.

“We will not give them the chance to do that. There are very few of them now out there but we aren’t taking chances still. No complacency on our part,” 6th ID’s commander, Major Gen. Alex Rillera, said on Friday.

Most of the former Dawlah Islamiya and BIFF members who had surrendered in batches to units of 6th ID and the regional police offices in the Bangsamoro region and in Region 12 had been reintroduced to mainstream society.

Two officials of the police’s aviation security unit at the Cotabato Airport, Capt. Leery Vic Ordonio and Jose Jerome Maclang, and their two subordinates, K9 handlers Executive Master Sgt. Ritche Sarzaba and Patrolman Edwin Adan, Jr., are together overseeing their security operations at the airport.

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