TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A Tabukeño, Igorot and Bicolano by blood and his K9 partner NDD Stark won the 𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝐍𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐨𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐇𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐨𝐫𝐲 during the Philippine National Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Canine (EOD/K9) Group’s 6th Anniversary at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
PSSg. Lester Balana is a native of Tabuk. His mother is from Mt. Province, while his father is a Bicolano. Before being sent to RECU-COR in 2020, he was a member of the Regional Force Battalion 15 or 1503rd Company during his ten years of public service. In that period, he received several awards, including this first-ever national award he bagged with NDD Stark.
Despite technological advances in anti-drug operations, Narcotics Detection Dogs (NDD) continue to assist in the majority of recent drug seizures in the city.
Stark is a member of the Canine Group, which, in collaboration with other police units, was responsible for drug busts including the P4.8 million worth of suspected marijuana bricks discovered in Brgy. Bantay, Tabuk.
Balana said the 6-year-old Labrador was given to him after his previous handler. They began arduous training at that time, which led to national recognition.
As Handler Balana has demonstrated, dogs are not only a man’s best friend but also a proven enemy of drug-related crimes. By Rio Dongcayan Bassong