Coast Guard K9 Training

PLS Conducts Special Swim and  Survive Training  Course   to 40  members of Coast Guard K9 Command 

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)  sent forty of its ranked K9 personnel, led by  CDR. Edgar L. Ybañez , PCG Fleet Operation  Commander and LCDR Allen J. Dalangin,  CGK9 Commander,  to a twelve-day  Special Swim and Survive (SSS)  training ,  that started on July 1, 2009  and culminated  with the graduation of all forty participants  on July 15th.

The SSS training, an advocacy program of  Philippine Life Saving  (PLS) ,  was  conducted  at  the  Coast Guard K9 Headquarters in Coast Guard Base, Taguig City.  The training  was  aimed not only  to  enhance  the personal survival skills of participants but also for the PLS  to scout for potential instructors from among the graduates to teach   Swim and Survive –a seven-competency level   survival  training program considered to be one of  today’s best  practices in  Water Safety Program , endorsed by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), introduced by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA) and adopted by  almost all lifesaving organizations in the world (PLS included),  in the pursuit  of their common mission of reducing  drownings worldwide.

In the July 15 closing ceremony ,  LCDR  Allen Dalangin, CGK9 Commander, who  sounded  very upbeat in his welcome speech  before the participants , PLS executives,  and honored guests, remarked ,  “The Swim and Survive Program affords CGK9 added knowledge and skills aside from surviving skills  we already possess.”  He also emphasized the need for these skills to be honed if  “ CGK9 was to become  more efficient in its lifesaving efforts.”

The special training provided lectures on aquatic rescue and lifesaving with extensive water evolution exercises. Lectures and hands-on training were presided  by  PLS Secretary General Larry S. Alag , BM and PLS Mindanao Representative Rahuel  J. Antonio, BM and were  duly complemented by guest instructors from the PCG namely  SCPO Gerardo A. Nobis Jr. CGSOG, BM and PO3 Nelson D. Ojano CGSOG, BM.

One of the culminating activities that capped the event  was the Lifeguard Challenge,  an ultimate challenge which tested not only endurance but also the  skills learned  during the training . Lifeguard Challenge is a two-man per team timed swim, simulating a water rescue scenario where a Lifeguard  tows a victim using a rescue tube.  The duo of PO2 Eugenio M. German, CGSOG and ASN Ronnel E. Casas, PCG,  outmaneuvered  the other contending pairs , pulling off the fastest in a time of 1:54 to finish a 150-meter distance and thereby  grabbing the Lifeguard Challenge Award.

PLS President Arne A. Navarra, in his heartfelt message to the graduates who each was awarded a Special  Swim and Survive Certificate during the rites,  underscored  the  coincidental benefits that each participant gets from the training. “ Aside from the skilled learned, there are   attitudes desired of a Lifesaver like character, commitment and courage, unknowingly   instilled in  each participant during the conduct of the training program,” Navarra remarked.  His charge upon the graduates  was for them “to  teach in turn what they have just been taught  and reach out for others.” He also exhorted them  never to turn their backs on lifesaving but rather to “be there always for  lifesaving’s  sake!”

CDR Gonzalo A. Magno,  PCG Chief of Staff CGFLEET lent honor to the simple graduation rites  as   the graduation speaker. In an inspiring message delivered before SSS Class 07-09 , Magno expressed warm congratulations to the batch for  a job well-done, and  played up the relevance of the SSS training by saying, “This training , a novelty  for the Coast  Guard K9 Command,  has provided you with  new knowledge and skills  that are   very unique  from the talents and skills you possess as members of  the CG K9 Command.” It can be gleaned from his statement that  the  training for Batch 07-09 may just very well be  the    starting  point for  the  CGK9   to continuously immerse its men and women into  the lifesaving  advocacy of PLS,  and thus  herald a fruitful collaboration between the two  life- preserving  entities, as CGK9 sends more of its men and women to the next SSS training programs next year.

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