Thursday, June 20, 2019

Sanchez: Sniffers

Nature Speaks

I LIKE seeing these friendly and disciplined dogs. I see them at airports and seaports.

I like to pet them if I can. They look like a mixed breed of a German shepherd and an Aspin (Asong Pinoy). A mongrel, like my dog Digong, a mix of a Labrador and an Aspin.

At the seaport in Cebu, a Malinois’s handler corrected me. To my Filipino ears, the dog’s name seemed to spell Malinwa. Quite close.

But no cigars for me. The dogs turned out to be Belgian Malinois.

Their breed is used as a working dog for tasks including detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants (for arson investigation), and narcotics; tracking humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and search and rescue missions

The US Secret Service uses Belgian Malinois to guard the grounds of the White House.

A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.

Unlike the gentle Labrador, Malinois are a suitable size to be carried by their handlers when required, while still being large enough to control human aggressors.

The price of trained Belgian Malinois dogs ranges from $55,000 to $85,000 based on a combination of protection, livability, and socialization. Whew, a hefty price for a pet dog. They’re a good public investment for.

Well, they’re worth their price. Recently, a six-year-old Belgian Malinois named Odel, together with Lala and Lala positively identified the presence of P3.4 billion worth of shabu concealed in two magnetic lifters at a Manila port on August 7.

In the process, they disproved President Rodrigo Duterte that P6.8-billion shipment was “pure speculation.”

In August 2018, the President criticized the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. According to the President, “There was nothing (two magnetic lifters...) You do not go into speculative content. You must be very sure that you have the goods.”

For his part, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña told lawmakers that the four magnetic lifters that the PDEA claimed that “the result of the laboratory analysis both from PDEA and the Philippine National Police, the four magnetic lifters have no presence of dangerous drugs.”

PDEA gave the Medalya ng Papuri to 6-year-old Belgian Malinois “Odel” and his handler Ryan Collantes for sniffing out the missing drugs.

Duterte said in August that he won’t play a blame game. Now that the dogs have sniffed out the tons of shabu, it’s time to play the game. (


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