Traders reminded to comply with plastic ordinance as grace period ends

BAGUIO CITY – Businessmen must now fully comply with the Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio City Ordinance as the grace period given them to consume their stocks of sando bags ended on Sept. 1.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan issued this reminder as the City prepares to intensify the implementation of Ordinance No. 35-2017 which imposes a total ban on styrofoam and plastic materials in the City including both the non-biodegradable and non-biodegradable types.

The Monitoring and Oversight Committee which oversees the implementation of the measure headed by action officer City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana and the City Solid Waste Management Board (CSWMB) are set to conduct trainings for the members of the Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Task Force headed by General Services Officer Eugene Buyucan and select operatives from the various offices to capacitate them in the enforcement of the various provisions of the ordinance.

The trainees from the Baguio City Police office, the Public Order and Safety Division, the GSO and the CEPMO will also be deputized as implementers of the ordinance.

A second training and deputation will also be conducted for environmental officers of the 128 barangays numbering 256 to serve as force multipliers of the task force.

Buyucan said Administrative Order No. 45-18 of the city mayor provided for the creation of the task force to enforce Ordinance 35-17 while Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 provides for the deputation of environmental officers to implement environmental laws provided that they have undergone proper training.

Ordinance No. 35-17 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 and will cover all business activities and establishments in the city including city government schools and offices.

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: “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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