DOMESTIC pets are now allowed to be with their owners inside Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) instead of being confined in separate animal compartments, a party-list lawmaker said.
In the revised Guidelines on Allowing Pets Onboard PUVs, Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong said the Land Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular 2020-003 dated January 27, 2020 amending its M.C. 2019-019, to allow pets carried in pet carriers or bags inside PUVs “as long as said pets are seated beside their owners, with their seats paid for.”
In the same circular, Ong said it is required for pets to wear diapers and are free from foul odors.
The new LTFRB guideline was issued after Ong raised an uproar on an earlier LTFRB memorandum circular (M.C. 2019-019) that allows pets inside PUVs only if they are placed inside “designated animal compartments” or inside PUVs “provided there are no other passengers inside.”
“The provision of the memo was quite vague and this caused confusion for both the commuting public and bus operators as to where to place pets onboard because there are no designated animal compartment in the first place in our PUVs. And since PUVs are public vehicles, naturally, there will be other passengers inside,” said Ong.
The memo was put to a test when last October 26, 2019, a dog placed in a compartment under a provincial bus bound for Masbate caused an uproar among animal welfare advocates. The operators of Raymond Bus eventually relocated the dog after a concerned citizen and the dog owner pleaded to let the dog stay inside the bus.
Because of this, Ong together with the animal welfare group Pawssion Project PH which he actively supports, held a consultation with LTFRB represented by Engr. Rolando Corpus on LTFRB’s Memo.
Ong also filed a formal petition to LTFRB to revise the memo to include the following provisions: 1. Pets should be allowed on board Public Utility Vehicles even if there are other passengers inside, subject to the specification of small to medium pet animal sizes to be allowed on board Public Utility Vehicles; 2. All pet dogs and cats must be placed inside ventilated containers, crates, or cages, or pet bags at all times while inside the PUV while wearing a diaper and is free from foul odor; 3. All pets shall occupy one passenger seat beside their owners with the owner paying for the PUV seat space occupied by their pet; and 4. Passenger safety is still of utmost concern, as such, no pet must display any violent behavior while onboard. For long-haul journeys in buses, all owners must present an updated vaccine record of their pet dog and/or cat to the bus conductor before payment of fare.
In response, the LTFRB issued on January 27 a memoradum revising M.C. 2019-019 and adopting Ong’s recommendations.
“Our beloved pets should not be placed in areas of any PUV which may affect or harm the pet’s health. Kung tayo nga tinuturing na nating parang anak natin ang mga alaga natin, tapos pagsakay sa bus, ilalagay sa ilalim katabi ng bagahe? Walang papayag doon syempre, “ Ong said.