A House Bill is now at the Congress filed by Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera-Dy of the Bagong Henerasyon Party List to amend the Animal Welfare Act (or Republic Act 8485) and increase penalties for those who have committed acts of cruelty to animals.
Under the said House Bill 5849, convicted animal offenders face a prison term of not less than six (6) years and one day to twelve years (12) or a fine of not less than P50,000. The current Act only has a prison term of six months up to two (2) years and fines up to P5000.
The Bill also proposes the banning of pet ownership for those convicted of pet neglect, and the deputization of reputable and accredited animal welfare NGOs to form part of a deputized Inspectorate Team to help government (Bureau of Animal Industry-Animal Welfare Division) monitor reports of cruelty and neglect, and gather evidence for the prosecution of those who do not take steps to improve the conditions of animals being maltreated or neglected.
"I have a great respect for Mrs. Nita Hontiveros Lichauco of PAWS who lobbied for the first Animal Welfare Act when it was passed in 1998, " BH says.
She further explains that the Philippines- being the first in Southeast Asia to come up with its own nationwide anti-cruelty law should likewise be at the forefront of improving upon such laws so that the law remains relevant and in step with the times. "I am happy to file this Amendment with the inputs of PAWS and other animal welfare advocates. I totally agree with them that preventing cruelty to animals is an important issue."
In her Explanatory Note for House Bill 5849, Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera-Dy, states that "It is time that we, Filipinos, are recognized for our compassion to animals as this evokes the finest elements of our humanity. To be firm and resolute in condemning and punishing acts which show utter disregard for life, protects our Society from deteriorating into one whose people are less humane towards each other. "