March 27, 2023

The city council has requested through Resolution 474, s. 2020 the City Health Services Office to provide the specific guidelines to minimize or prevent the local transmission of Covid-19 in Baguio.
The action is to further public health in line with the forthcoming opening of classes and the plan to start tourism activities as well as the Covid-19 local transmission cases in the city.
In her update before the council, CHSO Chief Rowena Galpo confirmed there had been cases of local transmission and upsurge in number of Covid-19 positive among residents in the city although the situation has been properly addressed through aggressive and continuous practice/observance of essential health pillars/strategies such contact tracing, testing, isolation, treatment, and the local health programs and activities.
As of Aug. 16, there are 284 cases with 92 confirmed, eight deaths, and 184 recoveries. The total of affected barangays is 97 out of the 128 barangays. As to cluster settings or out of 52 clusters, 158 individuals were affected.Out of 24 households, 45 occupants were affected and out of 12 banks, 34 employees were affected. In health facilities, 42 were affected and in three market clusters, seven were affected.In two government offices, nine individuals were affected and in one grocery, 11 were affected. In a church, five were affected and in one birthday party, five were affected.
In Resolution 477, s. 2020, the city council suspended the implementation of Ordinance 60, s. 2020, which requires mandatory dog microchipping until the issuance of its implementing rules and regulations.
Likewise, the suspension shall remain effective pending appropriate actions to the petitions of concerned dog owners and Baguio residents opposing the provision of the ordinance and pushing for its amendment for alternative options in achieving the real objectives of the ordinance.
The ordinance which is sought to be amended was passed by the city council last June 1 and it was signed a week after on June 8 by Mayor Benjamin Magalong supposedly to heighten the city’s campaign against animal rabies and stray dog.
The foremost reason cited by petitioners in their position paper against mandatory microchipping is health risk being posed by microchips to the pets. It says that some dogs, particularly small breeds and puppies, may have adverse reactions to microchips implanted underneath animal’s skin from serious health problems to even death based on studies abroad.
They see mandatory pet microchipping as an infringement or in violation of every pet owner’s right to decide of what is best for their pets, and is equivalent to forcefully punishing pet owners and animals alike. They instead suggested that responsible pet owners who are keeping their pet safely inside their homes or property should be presented with another non-invasive option to have their pets registered with the government.
In addition, microchip does not guarantee finding lost pets since the chips do not act like GPS devices where one can easily trace the animal’s location when lost, but an ordinary dog collar or tag that can readily be read without using any scanner will serve the purpose.
They also claim that the imposition of penalties to owners of non-microchipped pets is impossible to monitor given the vast number of dogs living inside pet owners’ households, which implementation presses legal queries on whether the authorities do searches inside private abode of every resident in the city, would it not constitute forced or illegal entry into private property, and why are responsible pet owners being penalized for simply refusing to microchip their pets.
Another reason in challenging the ordinance is the three-day holding period of impounded dogs before disposal which is inhumane to pet owners and too short to entitle animals their chance of redemption or to be reunited with their owners.
The petition was referred to the city council committee on laws, human rights, and justice for proper consideration on the amendment of the ordinance.