MMDA trains 100 dogs in UP to help save lives during disasters

mmda k9 corps
SEARCH AND RESCUE. The University of the Philippines adopts the MMDA K9 Corps search and rescue training at the UP vanguard. Photos by Rupert Ambil/Rappler

Dogs undergo a life-saving training every weekend for 8 weeks at the UP Vanguard grounds

MANILA, Philippines (Sept. 7, 2017) — University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) adopted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) K9 Corps search and rescue training.

About 100 dogs undergo a life-saving training every weekend for 8 weeks at the UP Vanguard grounds.

mmda k9 corps

The MMDA K9 Corps started to conduct the training on August 26 at the Napindan Hydraulic Control Center near Pasig River, where dog enthusiasts met up every weekend to train their pets for search and rescue operations in case the “Big One” or a magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes.

“Primarily, it is to mobilize the dog owners to participate in disaster preparedness,” according to Ramon Santiago, technical head of the MMDA K9 search and rescue unit.

mmda k9 corps

Santiago is a long-time veteran of the MMDA who served as head of its Flood Control and Information Center, and advises the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. He was also instrumental in crafting the Metro Yakal response plan.

According to Santiago, the goal of the training is to “train their dogs so in the event of disasters, they can help within their community to search for people trapped.”

mmda k9 corps

The dogs will be trained on how to sniff for signs of human life trapped underneath debris and collapsed structures.

“If we look at the resources for saving lives, it is not enough. So the help of the dogs and their owners is very helpful if they join the training,” Santiago said.

mmda k9 corps

Any dog breed can be enrolled in the training, which also aims to promote animal welfare.

Santiago said that they are hoping that more cities will adopt the life-saving program.

mmda k9 corps

The effects of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on a highly populated area like Metro Manila will include strong ground shaking, damaged infrastructure and utilities, and a potentially huge casualty count that could reach 33,500.

by Danielle Nakpil |