February 6, 2023

Initiatives to enhance the dull concrete walls in Baguio are being challenged anew by vandals who taint mural paintings with their illegal graffiti.

The recent case of vandalism committed by a tattoo artist on a freshly painted wall at Marcoville barangay has roused stakeholders anew to be involved in the fight against vandalism.

The Baguio City Police Office Station 3 and Marcoville officials last week spearheaded a dialogue between street muralist Venazir Martinez and tattooist Belimar Badua over the ruckus created by the latter’s destruction of the public artwork near the bus terminal at PNR Compound.

Badua was identified as the culprit behind the illegal marking of the 200-foot mural art that Martinez is working on. The project, called “Hali-bana,” is part of the series of public artworks featuring Cordilleran culture.

Based on the report of BCPO Station 3 Acting Commander, Capt. Marnie Abellanida, witnesses claim that the 27-year-old tattoo artist has already committed the same offense in the past.

“Based on the testimonies of barangay officials, Badua was also reported in the past for committing the same offense in the barangay,” Abellanida said in a report to BCPO Chief, Col. Allen Rae Co.

The police said Martinez has no intention of pressing charges against Badua.

After the dialogue on Oct. 13 in the presence of the police and Marcoville Punong Barangay Ruel Casuga, Abellanida said Badua agreed to repair the damage on the mural painting and to work with Martinez on future projects.

Graffiti vandalism has been a concern for the city government for years now, which is why a task force that includes barangay officials has been created to oversee the implementation of the city’s Anti-Graffiti Code.

The code penalizes individuals who deface real or personal property with paint or any other liquid or device through graffiti or graffiti vandalism, which is defined as any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting or defacement that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted, or engraved on or otherwise affixed, to the extent that the graffiti was not authorized in advance by the owner or occupant of the property, or despite advance authorization, is otherwise deemed a public nuisance.  It shall include all types of unauthorized markings amounting to vandalism and public nuisance.

The ordinance penalizes violators with an imprisonment of one to 10 days or a fine of P1,000, or both on first offense; imprisonment of 11 to 20 days or a fine of P3,000, or both on second offense; and imprisonment for 21 to 30 days or a fine of P5,000 or both on succeeding offenses.

Any person caught vandalizing will shoulder the restoration of the damaged property. – Jane B. Cadalig