April 21, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Sept. 6 ordered a ban on the use of plastic containers at City Hall starting Oct. 1.

The mayor said this is to set an example for residents to start embracing reusable and eco-friendly materials in their daily activities.

This is also in line with City Ordinance 35 s. 2017 entitled, “The Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance”, which 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. 

It covers all business activities and establishments in the city including city government schools and offices.

The mayor, in November 2020, reconstituted the Plastic Carry/Shopping Bags and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Task Force to spearhead the implementation of the ordinance.

In Executive Order 156 s. 2020, the mayor said, “There is an urgency to regulate the distribution, sale and use of plastic carry or shopping bags and Styrofoam containers in the city (because) despite the serious efforts to segregate compostable wastes from recyclable wastes, the continuous usage of single-use plastic and Styrofoam as packaging and food vessels continue to become a health hazard.”

The mayor tasked the City Environment and Parks Management Office and the General Services Office as lead bodies with members from the City Mayor’s Office; City Treasurer’s Office and its Market Division; Cepmo’s Wastewater, Water, and Ambient Air Management Division; GSO’s Solid Waste Management Division; Baguio City Police Office; Department of Education Baguio City; and the barangays through their committee members on environmental protection.

In enforcing the ordinance, the task force can issue notices of violation and citation tickets indicating corresponding penalty or reprimand for violations and confiscate prohibited items to be turned over to the Public Order and Safety Division together with the violators to avoid untoward cases and complaints against the task force.

It will also take the lead in the information and education campaign of programs supporting a plastic and Styrofoam-free city and spearhead the orientation and training of barangay officials deputized to implement the ordinance.

In the same order, the mayor deputized the punong barangays and the barangay kagawads assigned on environmental protection to enforce the measure.

Under Ordinance 35 s. 2017, all businesses will be required to post a signage: “Bawal ang paggamit ng plastic bags at Styrofoam.”

As part of its provisions of the ordinance, all city government schools and offices should 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 on first offense; P1,000 fine on 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 on 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 6713 and other local orders and issuances. – Aileen P. Refuerzo