December 2, 2022

A proposed ordinance setting a minimal fee for fitness instructors collecting donations/fees within public parks in the city has been approved by the city council on first reading.

Under the ordinance, the conduct of fitness activities such as zumba, tae bo, and tai chi shall be allowed provided the fitness instructors collecting donations/fees shall pay a fee of P100 per session to the City Treasurer’s Office before using the area.

The receipt shall be presented to the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) for recording purposes and proper booking of the area. The receipt shall likewise be presented to Cepmo or any security personnel monitoring the area.

Fitness instructors who do not charge fees/dues or do not collect donations from participants shall not be charged.

Fitness activities within parks initiated or sponsored by the government shall likewise be exempted from the payment of the fee.

The Cepmo shall identify areas within the parks where such activities will be      permitted and determine which activities may be conducted in the area.

The fitness instructor or their representative shall inform the Cepmo of their intent to use the area indicating the purpose and necessary details, such as date, time, house of use, and estimated number of participants at least two days prior to the activity. Permits as may be required by the city government shall also be complied with.

Fitness instructors found violating the ordinance shall be banned from conducting any health activity within the parks.

The Cepmo will be tasked to prepare the guidelines, if needed, for the purpose. The guidelines shall be submitted to the city council for amendments if necessary.

Introduced by councilors Elaine Sembrano, Philian Weygan-Allan, and Michael Lawana, the proposed ordinance said the imposition of a minimal fee for the use of these areas by fitness instructors shall instill in them responsibility and accountability when using the parks that are maintained by the city government.

According to the ordinance, the fees collected from the fitness instructors shall be used for the beautification, upkeep, and maintenance of the different parks in the city.

The proposed ordinance seeks to amend Section 31 of the Environment Code of the City of Baguio to include a provision that would regulate the use of areas within parks for fitness activities conducted by fitness instructors soliciting donations/fees from participants of such activities.

The councilors deemed it necessary to include such a provision as Section 31 of the Environment Code provides for the user fees and rentals for the use of parks, open spaces, and amenities specifically for big events, but such fees are considered inapplicable to activities participated by small groups such as those conducted by fitness instructors.

Under the Environment Code, fees for the use of certain areas in parks such as Burnham Park and Diplomat Heritage Hill range from P500 to P40,000.

The proposed ordinance was referred to the sanggunian’s committee on appropriations and finance for review and recommendations. – Jordan G. Habbiling