City gears up for implementation of plastic-free ordinance

BAGUIO CITY – The City Government is gearing up for the full implementation of Ordinance No. 35 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance” this May after a year-long grade period.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana who serves as action officer of the monitoring and oversight committee said the various sectors have been responding positively to the timetable set by the City Government on the ordinance.

She said the business sector which will largely be affected by the measure have been cooperating and have taken steps to effect the transition to plastic-free conduct of their operations during the one-year reprieve given them.
“I’m glad that everybody is taking action in their own levels with little prodding from the City Government,” Lacsamana said.

Stall holders and vendors at the City Market have been properly reminded of the deadline and were asked to inform their patrons that they would no longer use plastic bags and they would have to bring their own recyclable bags starting May.

General Services Officer-in-Charge Eugene Buyucan who is a member of the committee said the vendors were continually apprised on the developments during meetings with market superintendent Fernando Ragma.

Stalls selling plastic bags have been told not to replenish their remaining supplies and to change their line of business or look for other goods to sell as they will no longer be allowed to ply their old trade.

Lacsamana said the committee has come up with the action plan for the implementation of the measure to ensure its smooth enforcement.

The ordinance will cover all business activities and establishments in the city including city government schools and offices.

It prohibits business establishments from providing any customer any plastic bag or polystyrene foam container for goods or items purchased or serving food or drink, take out or dine in to customers in polystyrene containers or in plastic bags.

Instead, these establishments will be mandated “to provide or make available to customers for free or for a cost, paper bags or reusable bags or containers made of paper or materials which are biodegradable, for the purpose of carrying out goods or other items from the point of sale.”

The measure however will not prohibit customers from using bags of any other type that they bring to the store themselves for carrying away goods in lieu of bags provided by the store, except, plastic bags which are prohibited by this ordinance.

All businesses will be required to post a signage that shall read: “Bawal ang Paggamit ng Plastic Bags at Styrofoam.”
As part of its provisions, the measure mandates all city government schools and offices to maintain a “No Plastic Bag No Styrofoam” policy in their office or school premises including in government-sponsored events and functions.

The penalties are reprimand or immediate closure for establishments without business permit for first offense; P1,000 fine for second offense; P3,000 fine and eight hours community service for third offense and P5,000 fine and suspension of business permit for six months for fourth offense.

Penalties for violation of any of the provision by heads of the city government offices, school administrators, principals and concerned persons in authority will be subject to Republic Act No. 6713 and other local orders and issuances.

By: Aileen P. Refuerzo

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