Everything wrong with that “Oplan Dog-hang” campaign
Not only is it inhumane, it's also ignorant
Sep 14, 2018
As if the administration has not bred the culture of cruelty and violence in this country enough, local government officials of Barangay Capri, Novaliches, Quezon City have launched another inhumane and ignorant campaign that puts the lives of stray and house dogs at risk called “Oplan Dog-hang,” an evident allusion to the administration’s “Oplan Tokhang.”
In a Facebook post (which has now been deleted), the barangay’s health committee chairperson, Agnes Cando, said the campaign was launched to keep their surroundings clean and safe since dog bites have been rampant there for some time.
“Ang mga nahuhuling aso ay dinadala sa dog pound kung saan ang ating punong lungsod ay ganap nang nakikipag-koordina sa mga animal advocates tulad ng PAWS para sa mga nagnanais na mag-adopt ng mga hayop na nahuhuli at nang maalagaan ng [sic] wasto ang mga ito,” she said.
For starters, the campaign name itself is already appalling. “Oplan Dog-hang” alludes to “Oplan Tokhang,” the senseless yet unfortunately ongoing anti-illegal drug campaign of this administration which has led to the brutal murders of more than 12,000 Filipinos. There are some parallelisms between the two, too. In the “Tokhang,” cruelty is painted as the “cure” to solve problems in this country. When President Rodrigo Duterte launched that campaign, he encouraged Filipinos to “find them (drug users and pushers) and arrest them. If they resist, kill them all.” The “Tokhang” promotes the ruthless control and barbaric acts of people of authority just as a way to solve our problems. But alas, has any problem even been solved?
Government officials of Barangay Capri likewise seemed to aim the use of repression to address their problem. In a bid to lessen dog bites in their neighborhood, they encouraged dog owners to report stray dogs for collection and to surrender the dogs they cannot take care of anymore to the dog pound. The animals will be secured and adopted, they assured. But were they even sure the dogs will be adopted? They should have at least encouraged people to adopt rather than abandon their dogs, right? Majority of dogs in pounds only end up being euthanized.
The campaign was, ironically, a part of the barangay’s Crusade Against Crime campaign. But with that kind of title, it only seems to promote crusades for crime.
Cando mentioned that upon the collection of dogs, they will be cooperating with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which, just hours later after her post, condemned the campaign.
PAWS said the campaign violates the Animal Welfare Act, which specifies that the “control or collection of dogs must be done humanely.” Owners of dogs must also not be encouraged to surrender their dogs to the local pounds because this is a way of pet abandonment.
Furthermore, PAWS clarified that animal welfare shelters are not “repositories” of stray animals. “Pounds do not regularly coordinate with animal welfare groups because they are well aware of the difference between animal control and animal welfare and their areas of responsibility,” PAWS wrote.
It is infuriating how local government officials remain so ignorant of dealing with issues like this. They think that through means of allowing restraint and control, safety will prosper. It won’t. It will further give an impression that problems in our society can be solved only through repression.
And for the record, if they aimed for a witty and catchy campaign name, they should have at least used their wits. The title and objectives of “Dog-hang” didn’t even make sense at all.
Header image courtesy of Unsplash
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