The new anti-rabies law in the Philippines is not necessarily new. It was signed into law on May 25, 2007 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to control and prevent the spread of rabies and lead to its eventual eradication in the country. In spite of its importance however, many pet owners and other concerned citizens are still unaware of the important provisions of Republic Act 9482.
In 2007, 287 deaths from rabies was recorded in the Philippines with dogs comprising 90% and cats 7% of the cases.
Under the said law, the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program headed by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) was created. Through this national program, the state aims to reach the target of eradicating rabies in the Philippines by the year 2020.
The NRPCP was created to be a multi-sectoral program engaging both public and private institutions and individuals to achieve a rabies-free Philippines. Each stakeholder has a specific set of roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the law. Among the government agencies involved aside from the DOA are Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Local Government Units (LGU).
The DOH ensures adequate availability of vaccines and their proper administration to both victims and high risk personnel. They also help in developing strategies in health education and man the surveillance system of human rabies. DepEd do what they do best in educating children at school about rabies, their parents on responsible pet ownership and everyone else on the mass vaccination of dogs. For the LGU, they are the direct line to the dogs in the community; ensuring proper registration, immunization, impounding, execution of dog protection and collection of fines against violations of the law.
How good these agencies are, the success in the execution phase of the law lies in the compliance of the people, especially the pet owner. In the law, a pet owner is defined as aperson keeping, harboring or having charge, care or control of a dog including his/her representative. He or she should submit dogs owned for registration, have regular vaccination of dogs owned, control and disallow dogs owned from loitering in a public place without leash, provide a proper home (good grooming, adequate food and clean shelter) for dogs owned and report a dog bite within 24 hours and assist the victim in terms of medical and incidental expenses.
Also in the law are defined rules on dog impounding and disposition, population control methods and penalties on violations.
As an overview on the last part of the law, all stray, unvaccinated and unregistered dogs are impounded and put up for adoption three (3) days after the absence of claim of ownership. Also, it is encouraged that dogs be spayed or neutered to control their population.
As for penalties, each violation has a corresponding fine. Further details can be found in RA 9482 or the Anti-rabies law of 2007.
- R.A. 9482 Anti-Rabies Law of 2007
- http://www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/2012-05-23-07-46-36/2012-05-24-00-01-11/5061-republic-act-9482-framework-for-cooperation-against rabies file:///C:/Users/vaio%20pc/Downloads/HUMAN_RABIES_IN_THE_PHILIPPINES.pdf