Press Release
June 1, 2007


Senate Health and Demography Committee Chairperson Senator Pia S. Cayetano today lauded the enactment of the "Anti-Rabies Act of 2007" (Republic Act 9482), saying the new law will boost efforts to erase the country's negative image as one of the world's "rabies hotspots."

Citing figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), Cayetano said the Philippines actually ranks sixth in the world in terms of rabies deaths.

"Rabies claims between 300-400 lives every year. But even more disturbing is the fact that in six of every ten cases, the victims are children below fifteen years old," she stressed.

"What all these figures underscore is the need to enforce a national anti-rabies prevention and control program," added the lady senator, who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate with Senate President Manny Villar and Senator Juan Flavier.

RA 9482 makes it mandatory for dog owners to have their pets registered with their local government unit and immunized against rabies. The new law also mandates the establishment of local dog pounds which will house stray and unvaccinated dogs.

An owner who fails or refuses to have his/her dog immunized will be fined P500 or jailed for one day. Dog owners who refuse to have their pets vaccinated against rabies shall be liable to pay for the vaccination of both animal and the individual/s bitten by their dog.

According to the Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture, the government would have to allocate P80 million to cover the cost of vaccinating all dogs, at a cost of P10 per dog and with an estimated dog population of 8 million.

"The cost is well worth it, because it will definitely cost more to spend on anti-rabies vaccines," Cayetano said.

She noted that while it only costs P10 to have a dog immunized, the cost of having anti-rabies shots for a dog bite victim could range between P5,000 to P30,000.

She concluded by saying that the key to any effective rabies control program lies not merely in having full control of dogs, but in educating people to become responsible pet owners.

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