Issue of September 15, 2019
Mt. Province
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Plastic Free Ordinance to be amended to clear ‘vague’ rules
by Jordan G. Habbiling / PIO

Councilors Maria Mylen Victoria Yaranon and Joel Alangsab want to amend the ordinance regulating the sale, distribution, and use of plastic bags and Styrofoam in the city to clear up any ambiguity the ordinance might have caused to business establishments and consumers.

Yaranon and Alangsab proposed an ordinance amending sections 4 and 5 of the Plastic and Styrofoam Free Baguio Ordinance after receiving letters from constituents asking to be clarified on its provisions.

A letter was forwarded to Alangsab’s office inquiring whether or not plastic cups were allowed for sale and distribution.

Yaranon and Alangsab specified in their proposed amendatory ordinance that plastic straws, plastic stirrers, and plastic utensils will be banned for sale and distribution in business establishments.

“No business as defined in this Ordinance shall provide to any customer any plastic bag, plastic straw, plastic stirrer, plastic utensils, or polystyrene foam container for goods or items sold or served for food or drink, take out, or dine in to customers in polystyrene or plastic bags or container,” the first paragraph of the proposed amendatory ordinance states.

On Aug. 5, Alangsab received another letter from a constituent stating that “the ordinance should be clearly explained especially to establishments, big or small, whether they are to charge consumers for the use of paper bags or they should provide paper bags for free.”

The aldermen also said there is a need to amend section 5 of the ordinance because it is vague. 

“All businesses shall provide or make available to customers free paper bags; or for a reasonable cost, 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, subject to provisions of this Ordinance. Nothing herein prohibits customers from using bags of any other type that they bring to the stores themselves for carrying away goods in lieu of bags provided by the store, except, plastic bags which are prohibited by this Ordinance,” the second paragraph of the proposed amendatory ordinance states.

“The existing re-gulation on the sale, distribution, and use of plastic carry/shopping bags and Styrofoam in the City of Baguio needs to be updated to ensure that there is no need for interpretation when the words of the Ordinance are clear,” the proponents explained.

The proposed ordinance was referred to the committee on health and sanitation, ecology, and environmental protection.

In 2017, the city enacted “The Plastic and Styrofoam Free Baguio Ordinance.”

The ordinance states that first-time offenders will be reprimanded while succeeding offenses will be meted the following penalties: a fine of P1,000 on second offense; a fine of P3,000 and an eight-hour community service on third offense; a fine of P5,000 and suspension of business permit for six months on fourth offense; and non-renewal of business permit or closure of business for habitual offenders.

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