December 8, 2023

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has reconstituted the Plastic Carry/Shopping Bags and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Task Force to spearhead the implementation of Ordinance 35 s. 2017 or “The Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance.”

“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 remains a health hazard,” Magalong said in Executive Order 156-2020.

The mayor tasked the City Environment and Parks Management Office and the City 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 city barangays through their committee members on environmental protection.

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 cases and complaints against the task force.

It will also 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.

Ordinance 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.

All businesses will be required to post a sign, “Bawal ang paggamit ng plastic bags at Styrofoam.”

All city government schools and offices should maintain a “no plastic bag, no Styrofoam” policy in their premises including in government-sponsored events and functions.

Violators could face 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 on 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