‘Oplan Doghang’*

OFFICIALS of Barangay Capri in Novaliches, Quezon City launched recently an animal control campaign they tagged “Oplan Doghang”. An online video showed them trapping and capturing stray dogs on the street.

The campaign was quite understandable. People were alarmed by the rising number of dog bite incidents in their community. Officials took action they deemed necessary to protect the residents, especially the poor who have no means to purchase anti-rabies vaccines as they could even hardly put food on the table. Capri officials even used a slogan urging pet owners to surrender their animals to their local pound.

In a statement, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) said the use of the word “doghang” as a means of animal control is wrong, even if the term was an allusion to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The collection of stray dogs should be done humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. And as for their slogan, the barangay officials were supposedly encouraging pet abandonment by telling the public to surrender their animals instead of educating them to become responsible pet owners.

The slogan was condemned by a number of people on social media. We couldn’t blame anyone who might have felt offended by the campaign. We all know that to this day, most Filipinos have remained pet lovers who firmly believe that a dog is still man’s best friend.

Seeing the negative reactions they reaped, one of the barangay officials sought apology in a Facebook post.

Nevertheless, some people wanted to know if these officials have the right to pry into the lives of pet owners and force them to surrender their beloved pets like drug users and offenders in the government’s anti-drug campaign called “Oplan Tokhang”.

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These officers may have forgotten the essence and responsibility that go with being a pet owner. Even when shown cruelty and abuse, a dog displays unconditional, undying love, and loyalty to its owner. When its master comes home from a hard day’s work, the dog eagerly runs toward him with its tail wagging and attempts to please and show its love to its owner.

In other parts of the globe, there were some instances when dogs have been found visiting or guarding the graves of their masters. Dogs only have true love in their hearts for their masters, unlike some lap dogs… err, I mean, people I know.

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*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.
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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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