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Tolentino to PPA: Hire veterinarians to assist travelers with pets

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino has urged the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to hire veterinarians to vet on-site the pets travelers bring along in their trips and making the boarding process on sea vessels a lot easier.

Tolentino cited in a discussion with PPA general manager Jay Santiago yesterday the travelers’ practice of bringing pets along with them in their travels. The senator noted that this resulted, on some occasions, to friction with port authorities – especially if the traveler fails to show health documents and is ordered to leave the pet in the ports.

Santiago informed the lawmaker, though, that the Bureau of Animal Industry personnel are already doing this job and that the BAI have large signs regarding the rules and procedures for bringing pets on board.

But Tolentino wanted to have the PPA hire its own veterinarian. Or it could also coordinate with the Philippine Veterinarians Association to provide services and help the traveling public, especially during this Lenten season.

“What is the possibility of hiring veterinarians authorized by the PPA to check pets and issue papers to facilitate the travel of passengers with pets? Because this is where friction starts,” Tolentino said.

He believes that a veterinarian should be assigned at the ports to provide services like checking the health of pets and issuing documents for them to board the sea vessels.

“It will be like a Lakbay Alalay not for humans but for our pet animals. The animal rights advocates like the Philippine Animal Welfare Society will surely appreciate this move,” Tolentino said.

Responding to the lawmaker’s suggestion of providing separate veterinary services at the ports, Santiago said they would pursue the initiative this Holy Week.