Western Visayas will get more drug-sniffing canines this year to “beef-up presence in all seaports and airports” in the region, a director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said here on Friday.

Derrick Carreon, also the PDEA spokesman, said in his speech during the opening of the “Rehabinasyon” roadshow program that they are currently focusing on accomplishing its operational thrusts: the recruitment of 1, 395 agents and procurement of narco-detection dogs to be deployed in major ports and seaports.

The Philippine Coast Guard in Iloilo earlier expressed the need for more dogs trained to detect illegal drugs for the various ports here following the confiscation of more or less one kilo of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) worth PHP18 million in Dumangas, Iloilo on January 28.

The PCG specifically said that they are in need of four additional illegal drug-sniffing dogs to augment their current six dogs deployed in the different major ports in the city and province of Iloilo.

“There will be deployment of both agents, handlers and dogs,” Carreon said.

“I guess, two or five (drug-sniffing dogs), depending on the place of acquisition,” he added.

Carreon said that they are also planning to ink a memorandum of agreement with the Maritime Industry Authority to deputize their agents to inspect maritime vessels both domestic and international and to inspect public and private ports nationwide to free the country from the entry of illegal drugs.

Also, he said that they plan to provide training for their agents in manning X-ray machines of different local and international couriers to prevent entering of illegal drugs in the country.

Plans are also being mulled to establish offices in the Philippine Ports Authority’s 13 key seaports nationwide, he said.

The “Rehabinasyon” roadshow and town hall meet was spearheaded by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). (PNA)