Why we work in the Philippines

After a 7.1 earthquake struck the Bohol province of the Philippines in 2013, IFAW's partner the Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) responded to animals following the disaster.A horrific landslide in 1999 initiated the idea and need for a disaster response team in the Philippines. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a long-time International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) partner, stepped up to help the animals displaced, and subsequently they have been the go-to agency in the Philippines to help animals in distress.

The Executive Director of PAWS, Anna Cabrera, tells a wonderful history of IFAW and PAWS working together (a history that pre-dates both of us!) going back to the 1980s that started with developing a program for humane education.

Since that landslide, the Philippines has experienced several devastating disasters like typhoons, floods, volcanoes and earthquakes. IFAW has been proud to partner with PAWS to help provide relief to animals impacted.

IFAW’s Disaster Response team, in addition to responding to help animals after a disaster, began focusing more efforts on building local capacity by creating a network of organizations called the Emergency Relief Network (ERN). Since 2014, PAWS has both attended and presented at our Animals in Disasters workshops in the Philippines and Indonesia, and they are a cornerstone in developing our Southeast Asia ERN.

Every time I listen to Anna present, I am inspired by how much PAWS has accomplished for animals.

Life for the dogs and cats living on the streets can be perilous. In the capital city of Manila and surrounding areas animals have little room to navigate without getting caught in traffic. PAWS volunteers rescue animals in such a circumstance, and are also the go-to agency for rescuing animals from abuse.

A donated truck, more than 20 years old, has been their main mode of transportation to rescue animals and take them to the clinic for emergency veterinary care. This truck was repaired more times than you could ever imagine because of heavy use, but the PAWS team valued it and knew it meant a great deal to the original donor, and so they continued to try to save the vehicle.

I realized that the PAWS team needed a safe and reliable means of transportation, and thankfully our friends at the Disney Conservation Fund agreed! We granted a new truck to PAWS in June of this year and they have already put it to good use. 

I saw Anna in October; she presented at two workshops we hosted for three local government units.

PAWS was as busy as ever with spay-neuter clinics for pets, testifying at cruelty cases and holding outside-the-box events to increase adoptions of shelter cats and dogs. At least they no longer have to worry whether or not the truck will break down.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy