BAGUIO CITY – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance providing the guidelines governing the confiscation, and disposition of food items and merchandise and for other purposes.
Local legislators stated that it shall be prohibited for any person to sell food items and merchandise in designated passage ways or alleys in the central business district, in the city public market, in all parks, in all overpasses and in all other public places in the city.
The council defined illegal peddling to include over extension of stalls in the city public market and that it shall also be prohibited for any person to sell in any place outside of the premises of the city public market any food item and merchandise intended for sale in the market.
Further, the local government holds as an avowed policy that all food items and goods being sold along streets, sidewalks, bridges, parks, overpasses and other public places be confiscated and all structures found thereat demolished by the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) without prior notice. In the performance of the aforesaid function, the POSD should always be circumspect and that, towards this end, may seek the assistance of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), any law enforcement agency, the Market Superintended office and the demolition team for the said purpose.
The council added that all confiscated goods shall be placed under the custody and care of the POSD.
The body claimed that the owners of the confiscated wares may claim their merchandise within 5 days from the date of confiscation or earlier upon payment of the administrative fine of P1,000. If not claimed within the 5-day period, the POSD shall coordinate with the General Services Office and dispose the confiscated merchandise at the dumpsite or any manner most convenient and safe.
Upon turnover of the confiscated merchandise, the GSO shall receive and issue an acknowledgement receipt which shall indicate the list of the name of the merchandise, the quantity thereof, and the date received. The same shall be kept by the GSO and POSD for future refences.
The council stipulated that the owners of the confiscated food items like fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and the like shall claim their goods within 24 hours from the date of confiscation or earlier upon payment of the administrative fine of P1,000. If not claimed with the prescribed period and before its spoilage, the POSD shall immediately turnover the food items to the city Social Welfare and Development Office for its proper disposition. Spoiled food items shall be discarded by the POSD.
Upon turnover of the confiscated food items, the CSWDO shall receive and issue a similar acknowledgement receipt containing the list of the merchandise, the quantity and the date received.
Under the proposed ordinance, any person found violating the pertinent provisions of the measure who voluntarily acknowledges his or her infraction and is willing to pay the fines shall not be detained or be subjected to prosecution.
Moreover, selling of confiscated food items and merchandise for profit shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than P5,000 or imprisonment of not less than 1 month but not more than 6 months, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
On the other hand, misrepresentation on the part of requesting organization and their misuse of the confiscated food items acquired from the CSWDO, unless otherwise provided, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than P5,000 or imprisonment of not less than 1 month but not more than 6 months, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
If the violation is committed by a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president, the chairman or the manager of the same.
The ordinance explained that using the confiscated food items other than for the purposes provided by a government employee shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than P5,000 or imprisonment of not less than 1 month but not more than 6 months, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
By Dexter A. See