Issue of April 8, 2018
     
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Plastic–free Baguio IRR may still have "room for transition"
by Aileen P. Refuerzo / PIO

The city government will soon come up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Ordinance 35 s. 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance,” which is up for full implementation this May.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana, who serves as action officer of the monitoring and oversight committee, said the IRR are now being finalized and will be ready in time for the May deadline.

She said the rules will define the roles of the various stakeholders and the parameters of the implementation based on the provisions of the ordinance.

Lacsamana said the committee, aware of the fact that plastic is deeply entrenched in the city’s economic activities, will consider including terms that will allow some leeway or room for transition, but without necessarily violating the provisions of the ordinance.

“We have to accept that this is not an overnight thing so we are considering adopting a transformational strategy particularly for the users but without compromising the parameters set by the ordinance.  We have to work around it and by it,” she said.

She said they will also include the grant of incentives to those who will comply to foster cooperation. 

Lacsamana said while the ordinance is implemented, the city will continue to look for an alternative to plastic even as she sought the help of the various sectors in coming up with a workable substitute to plastic.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan also aired appeal to experts to put forward information on any technology proven to be environmentally safe that can replace plastic.

Committee members earlier said there were no conclusive studies proving that the biodegradable kind used by a big department store is environmentally safe.   

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.

Instead, these establishments will be mandated “to provide or make available to customers for free or for a cost, paper bags or reusable bags or containers made of paper or materials which are biodegradable, for the purpose of carrying out goods or other items from the point of sale.”

The measure, however, will not prohibit customers from using bags of any other type that they bring to the store themselves for carrying away goods in lieu of bags provided by the store, except, plastic bags which are prohibited by the ordinance.

All businesses will be required to post a signage: “Bawal ang paggamit ng plastic bags at styrofoam.”

As part of its provisions, the measure mandates all city government schools and offices to 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 for first offense; P1,000 fine for 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 for 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.


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