AFP awards medals to 2 dogs, cites their role vs insurgency
The Armed Forces of the Philippines recently recognized two of its military working dogs (MWDs), particularly citing their role in the campaign against communist insurgents in the Visayas.
Mugie and Puti—both of the native breed also known as Aspin (“asong” Pinoy)—were conferred the “MWD Achievement Medal” by Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the AFP Visayas Command (Viscom), during his visit at Camp Leon Kilat, the Army headquarters in Negros Oriental province, on Sept. 12.
“Mugie and Puti are not just dogs, they are soldiers. Like any other soldier, they too deserve to be recognized for their significant contributions,” Arevalo said in a speech. “They manifest a high sense of loyalty and dedication to duty. When needed, they too would be willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country and people.”
According to the Viscom, the two tracker dogs played a major role in a pursuit operation that led to the discovery of the remains of an alleged member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), as well as four antipersonnel mines, one M653 rifle and “subversive” documents at Sitio Taleo, Barangay Milagrosa in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, on Aug. 26.
The Army currently has at least 127 MWDs, which are mainly handled by the K9 “Huntsmen” Battalion for deployment across the country. Aside from Aspins, they include Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, Belgian malinois, and Belgian tervurens.
Since 2017, Aspins have increasingly earned their place in the roster. Compared to nonnative breeds, they are used to the country’s tropical climate and do not tire easily, according to their handlers.
Like Mugie and Puti, their uniformed humans received recognition during Arevalo’s visit.
Gold Cross Medals and Silver Cross Medals were awarded to 46 soldiers and two members of the Cafgu (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units) under the 47th, 11th, and 15th Infantry Battalions, units covered by the Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade.
The troops were cited for recent actions against the NPA in Bilar, Bohol (Sept. 7); Sta Catalina, Negros Oriental (Aug. 24); and Cauayan, Negros Occidental (May 21). Seven rebels were killed in those encounters, the Viscom said.