Marinduque Veterinary Field Hospital


Provincial Veterinary Office of Marinduque

Best practice Focus Area(s)

Leadership, Strategy, Citizens / Customers

Year Implemented

2004 - up to present


The Marinduque Veterinary Field Hospital (MVFH) is an integral program that reinforces the Marinduque mobile veterinary services, which seeks to provide compassionate veterinary care to companion and farm animals in rural and small communities. It is the first innovative method of bringing veterinary service to the countryside.

The concept started way back in 2004 with continuous upgrading and innovation to meet the ever-changing needs of the time. The Veterinary Field Hospital provides multi-faceted services catering to the mandate of the Provincial Veterinary Office by providing animal health services such as the spay and neuter program, animal production services, information and dissemination campaigns, veterinary medical missions on calamity stricken areas not only in the province of Marinduque but also in other parts of the country that includes animal and wildlife rescue including marine mammal rescues and rehabilitation. The goal is to extend help to pet owners, livestock farmers, and all animal lovers to make them our leading partners in promoting responsible pet ownership and making them successful farmers and empowered citizens.

Background and Problem

In the late 90s and early 2000s, an average of seven and a maximum of twelve human deaths due to rabies were a predominant occurrence in a 95,925 hectares island Province. A relatively high number on a small island. Factors observed contributing to the problem were:

While a high number of dog bite incidences occurred, only 576 in 2001 and 237 in 2010 were reported to local health facilities compared to 2155 in 2018. This means that in the late 90s and early 2000s, the community and dog bite victims had little knowledge of the correlation between the number of stray dogs, dog bites, rabies, anti-rabies programs, and health care programs against the dreaded disease.
Though fairly in the early 2000s, rabies vaccination reached approximately 7,000 dogs and cats vaccinated annually. But still, human deaths were prevalent, and many dog bite victims were not subjecting themselves to proper health programs to address the rabies incidence. This means that the community may have been participating less in the anti-rabies programs, information and dissemination campaigns, and other related veterinary services. The consequential effect of this low knowledge and awareness of the community was low citizen participation in the policies and programs related to addressing the rabies problem, relatively high numbers of contributory factors that cause the disease spread, and the consequential high human mortality rate.

Due to these factors, the Provincial Veterinarian was initially compelled to address the rabies problem radically by eliminating stray dogs accompanied by jabs of other mobile veterinary field services. The early stage of veterinary mobile field services in 2004 used traditional methods, medicines, newspaper drapes, and conducting spay and neuter surgeries and other treatment and surgical procedures for all animals under the waiting sheds. Only a few appreciated the services at that time yet had introduced the dynamics to the community. The radical approach brought instant and effective effects that eliminated rabies and ceased human deaths due to rabies in 2006, and the introduction of mobile veterinary services was clearly emphasized. However, the efforts still gained negative criticism and deterred measures against the skeptic community.

Fortunately, with continuous effort and innovation of the team leader and the introduction of external organizations such as the Japan International Cooperative Agency and Humane Society International, who extended their arms, helped reboot the methodologies and upgrade the technology conducted to maintain the hard-earned rabies-free status, preserve the momentum of delivering other veterinary services to other animals closer to their homes and increase the capability to respond the increasing number of wildlife animals brought for rescue and treatment. This resulted in innovation from essential mobile veterinary services to now as Marinduque Veterinary Field Hospital program incorporated with the creation of the Marinduque Animal and Wildlife Rescue Emergency Response Team.

Solution and Impact

The early stage of veterinary mobile field services in 2004 used traditional methods, medicines, newspaper drapes, and basic equipment’s while conducting spay and neuter surgeries and other treatment and surgical procedures for all animals under the waiting shed. The mobile veterinary field service, accompanied by the radical approach of stray dog elimination at that time, brought instant and bold results, specifically the cessation of human deaths due to rabies and the declaration of the rabies-free status of the province. Yet, it received tremendous negative and deterring criticism. Several outside organizations were contacted and supported to maintain its hard-earned results, resulting in upgrades and a dynamic shift of methodologies to continually deliver and sustain the significant intended impact on the community.

International foundations such as Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and Humane Society International (HSI) provided support to alleviate the measures by providing technology transfer and equipping the Provincial Veterinary Office through modern spay and neuter programs. The program’s main activity is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of dogs and cats to prevent the birth of unwanted litters contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted animals that increases the transmission of rabies. The main concept and goal of the program are that the higher the number of dogs spayed and neutered will decrease the number of stray dogs that transmits the virus, resulting in a reduced transmission factor, which then increases the probability of eliminating the rabies virus in the ecology of the province. The equipping and technology transfer activity allows the PVO to provide spay and neuter programs to every barangay in the most efficient, effective, and aesthetic way. Though it was conducted in the early ‘90s under a waiting shed, the upgrade of technology and facilities gained traction in the community resulting in increased community participation and confidence in the program.

At first, technical skills were developed under the HSI and JICA training. Efficient and effective methodologies were transferred as well as latest medicines were provided. This is followed by providing basic to advanced surgical tools and equipment and immediately implementing the activities. Along the way of implementation and the consequential support of our impressed local government leaders’, innovations were hasted, modern mobile tents and advanced medical tools were purchased and used, effective communication and coordination with local officials were strengthened, and intensification of information and dissemination efforts during daily deployment was instituted.

Up to now, the deployment of the Veterinary Field Hospital is every Tuesday to Thursday. Barangays were selected based on the number of dog bite incidents, the incidence of rabies deaths, dog and human population density, local initiatives, community requests, the number of stray dog population, geographical location, topography, and season. When barangays are selected, proper communication and coordination with local officials will follow. Methods of communication include official letters, radio announcements, house-to-house calls, and local postings to inform all community members to participate in the program. Follow-up phone calls and currently, online posts are also currently conducted. Upon arrival at the barangay, a strategic selection of field hospital sites in the barangays will be made. When the field hospital is established on-site, registration, surgical operation, medical treatments, and information dissemination are then conducted. Every animal brought will be served according to its needs, free of charge. This is conducted the whole year round in every barangay of the province.

As equipment and surgical procedure are eventually innovated and upgraded, the citizen’s participation in the services and mandates of the office has also increased. This allows information and dissemination campaigns to become very effective to the point where many other animals with different diseases were brought to the facility extending the services from spay and neuter to multi-faceted mobile veterinary services. The eventual attention and impact on the community impressed our leaders, who then gave full support to the team initiatives extending the office budget allocation, allowing the program to be innovated more freely and obtain more upgrades. Along with the innovative development of the Marinduque Veterinary field hospital program is the creation and activation of the Marinduque Animal and Wildlife Emergency Response Team.

The mobile veterinary hospital caters to all animal health services, animal welfare services, animal disease diagnostic services, animal and wildlife rescues, and calamity veterinary missions.

With the effectiveness of the information dissemination campaign, the general community increases their awareness and becomes empowered regarding animal and wildlife health care and the related laws and regulations. The resultant effect is the increase in reports of animal diseases and wildlife medical and situational cases to be responded to, and as the response is conducted, the accomplishment of the mandates is achieved.


The multi-faceted veterinary services fortified by the Marinduque Veterinary Field Hospital program gained multiple recognitions, achievements, and awards.

In 2012, the province was officially declared a rabies-free Province by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee, even though there have been no reported cases since 2006. It was awarded on 28 September 2012. Marinduque completed and satisfied all the requirements prescribed by the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee. Marinduque was declared a Rabies Free Zone by a joint declaration of the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture during the celebration of World Rabies Day held at Makati City Hall, Makati City. The NRPCC again awarded the Province of Marinduque a plaque of recognition for the unwavering support, tireless dedication, and excellence of the rabies program toward the national goal of rabies-free Philippines on 28 September 2016 and 2018. And on 27 September 2018, The Department of Health awarded a plaque of recognition to the Province of Marinduque for maintaining its rabies-free status for the past six years.

On 16 December 2005, an Award of Excellence was also given to the Provincial Veterinary office by the AusAID FAO eradication Project DA Bureau of Animal Industry National FMD Task Force in implementing programs that eliminate and prevent Foot and Mouth Disease spread and incursion without vaccination.

On 6 June 2014, the team was recognized as a semi-finalist in Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees. The Committee on Presidential Lingkod Bayan and CSC Pagasa Awards awarded it.

In September 2014, the team received the Civil Service Commission Pagasa Award. It is given in the merit of the team’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of animals and wildlife species in Marinduque and other provinces. In the award, the team was also recognized as the first animal welfare group to set foot in the impact zone in Leyte after the onslaught of Yolanda through operation “Sagip Hayop,” where affected animals, including livestock, were rescued and preserved as a source of income and food. The initiative also saved millions of pesos for the government in terms of possible disease outbreaks. Furthermore, the award also recognizes the remarkable team dedicated to upholding animal welfare led them to initiate projects that protect various wildlife species from poachers and made Marinduque a rabies-free zone.

On 18 May 2016, by introducing an innovative out of the box approach, the team leader was recognized as an Outstanding Provincial Veterinarian by the Provincial, City, and Municipal Veterinarians League of the Philippines In recognition of his invaluable achievement and dedication to Provincial Veterinarian of the Province of Marinduque and for his dedicated and unselfish efforts for the interest of the veterinary profession. Subsequently, the Team Leader was also recognized by his alma mater (Central Luzon State University) as one of its outstanding alumni for his far from the ordinary, innovative works.