October 2, 2023

Street performers composed of buskers, cosplayers, and pantomime artists agree that their operations should be regulated by the government in order to make their performances a pleasant experience for the performers themselves and their audience.

In the public consultation concerning the proposed ordinance that sought to regulate performan-ces in public areas last May 4, the stakeholders accepted the proposal for the payment of an annual permit fee of P350.

The amount will be deposited in a trust account, which, at the end of every year will be used for the benefit of registered street performers.

Only bona fide residents of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay will be issued permits. Proponent Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. said street performers who are not from the Blisst may be allowed to perform in Baguio during the proposed busking festival, which is being eyed to be held October of every year.

The proposal has also addressed the involvement of minors. In the consultation, it was agreed that only those who 18 years old and above will be allowed to perform.

Other proposed measures to regulate street performances include, prior registration with the City Tourism Office, display of permit to perform, performances shall be at designated areas and on a specific time only.

The proposal states that performances will be allowed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but City Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo said the schedule of performances may be extended until midnight on special occasions such as Christmas in Baguio orPanagbenga.

For establishments that hire street performers, Mapalo said their performance should be limited within the confines of the establishment and should not extend to public areas adjacent to the establishment.

The proposal prohibits collection of money from the public as payment for their performances, but allows acceptance of tips, which is voluntary, Yangot said.

A Street Performance Committee (SPC), tasked to screen the performers, designate areas where performers may perform, review the content of the performances, ensure order in areas where street performers are designated, measure the prescribed ambient noise level of musical instruments and loud speakers, which is limited to 10 decibels, and monitor compliance to the guidelines will be formed once the ordinance is approved.

The SPC will be chaired by the mayor, co-chaired by the city administrator with the City Treasurer, head of the Permits and Licensing Division, city tourism officer, city council chair of the committee on tourism, and two representatives from accredited street performers groups as members.

The proposal also states that the mayor may suspend a permit for not more than 30 days if the performer has provided false information in their registration form or if the performer has been charged with three administrative complaints within one year.

Permits may also be revoked if a performer ignores summonses for five consecutive instances. 

In the interim, the CTO has been implementing a scheduling system for street performers at Session Road. This is following the assessment made by the Local Finance Committee of the need for the city government to regulate street performers so as to prevent crowding at the city’s main thoroughfare.

At the time of assessment, micro and small enterprises were permitted to sell at Session Road every Sunday.

Mapalo said the regulation is meant to balance what the city has to offer as a Unesco Creative City for folk arts and crafts and manage the type of activities and performances done in public places.

Yangot said once the proposal is approved, all street performers will be required to register, including those who perform at private functions and in private venues.

Street performers, regardless of the area where they ope-rate will be required to pay a permit fee, as the ordinance does not cover only those at Session Road.

The proposal, which will contain the inputs gathered from the public consultation will be discussed by the city council, prior to its approval. – Rimaliza A. Opiña