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Nancy pushes for the inclusion of animal rescue in disaster planning



Senator Nancy Binay called on the government to include animal rescue and evacuation in its disaster risk reduction plans to ensure that animals are given protection during disasters.

Binay filed Senate Resolution 295 urging the Senate to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the status of the animals left behind during the recent eruption of Taal Volcano.

This after the senator was made aware of the difficulties experienced by animal welfare groups in trying to rescue animals affected by the recent eruption of Taal volcano.

"We need to make sure that our disaster preparedness program also includes the proper evacuation and rescue of animals, especially after seeing how hard it is for animal rights organizations and rescue volunteers to help animals left behind in the areas severely affected by Taal Volcano's eruption," she said.

Binay said she received a letter from animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL) asking for the proper implementation of animal evacuation, rehabilitation, and rehoming plans of the government.

In its letter, Save ALL said that there is a need to put in place an efficient system to tap volunteers to help feed the animals during a crisis; and a system for transporting animals to animal evacuation centers.

"We would like to propose that a law be considered and passed to ensure animals are also provided assistance and protected during disasters," the letter said.

"We ask that animals be included in every local government unit's plan on disaster preparedness and response," it added.

Several animal welfare groups bonded together to rescue animals from towns in Batangas identified by the government as danger zones.

Due to the limited space in these temporary shelters, animals and livestock were housed in makeshift animal camps.

Aside from horses, cows and other livestock, official figures estimate that some 30,000 dogs and cats in these towns have been affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In her resolution, Binay cited Republic Act 8485, otherwise known as the "The Animal Welfare Act of 1998", which provides for the protection and promotion of the welfare of all terrestrial, aquatic and marine animals in the Philippines.

According to the law, "If any person being the owner or having charge or control of any animal shall without reasonable cause or excuse abandon it, whether permanently or not, without providing for the care of that animal, such act shall constitute maltreatment."

The law further states that "If the animal is left in circumstances likely to cause the animal any unnecessary suffering, or if this abandonment results in the death of the animal, the person liable shall suffer the maximum penalty.

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