Iloilo SP eyes creation of evacuation centers for pets

Photo from Board Member Jason R. Gonzales Facebook

By John Noel E. Herrera

The 14th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Iloilo is eyeing the establishment of evacuation centers for animals during calamities and natural disasters through a proposed ordinance authored by 4th District Board Member Rolando Distura.

With the facility, the pets will be safe during disasters and the owners will have peace of mind that their pets are properly taken care of.

“While we evacuate and make people safe, but how about our companion pets that are part and parcel of our lives? In such instances, they have to be separated in a place where they are secured and will not mingle with people since they also need to rest,” Distura said.

Distura also emphasized that there are pet owners who risk their lives as they try to rescue their pets, while there are also some who do not want to be evacuated as they worry about leaving their pets.

He added that holding pets and evacuees together in one evacuation center might cause health and social concerns since some people are uncomfortable seeing animals around them.

The board member also encouraged that for every evacuation center for humans, there will also be “separate and distinct centers for companion pets with good ventilation and accommodation.”

Distura also shared how the proposed ordinance was somehow similar to a cattle relief park that he established in Dumangas, Iloilo when he was still the mayor, where animals such as cattle, pigs, goats, and carabaos are kept whenever there are floods.

In the proposed ordinance, one town in each of the five districts in Iloilo will be identified as the site for the evacuation centers, while other towns are encouraged to follow as well.

The evacuation centers will also initially focus on companion pets, such as dogs and cats.

The proposal was also referred to the committee on disaster risk reduction and management and climate change for a hearing and is targeted to pass within the year.