Baguio implements plastic ban – 10 years after passing ordinance

banning plastic and styrofoam containers
OLD LAW. The ordinance that the Baguio City government starts implementing, banning plastic and styrofoam containers, is a recycled ordinance from 2007.

The Bayong Ordinance – a local law prohibiting businesses from giving plastic shopping bags and containers to customer – was passed in 2007. The new batch of councilors now has just passed its amended version

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (May 5, 2017) — The City of Pines has decided to be serious about waste recycling but, first, it has to recycle an old local law.

In 2007, the city council of Baguio came up with the Bayong Ordinance, which requires all business establishments to ditch the use of paper and plastic bags and instead use bayong (buri bags), cloth, or recyclable bags.

The ordinance was supposed to be fully implemented by 2012, and would have made Baguio one of the first highly-urbanized cities in the Philippines to have such ordinance.

The 2013 elections came, however, and incoming Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the ordinance was not feasible.

Then, 10 years after the passage of the Bayong Ordinance, the new batch of city councilors passed its amended version, the Plastic- and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance, on 3rd reading.

“‘Yung paggamit ng plastic at styro ay talagang ire-regulate na. Nakasaad na rin ang total implementation ng ordinance. Pipilitin nating talagang ma-implement dahil ‘yung previous ordinance ay hindi na-implement dahil sa kawalan ng information dissemination. Nakalagay na po diyan kung paano natin i-inform ang ating mga kababayan.,” said Vice Mayor Edison Bilog during a press briefing this week.

(We will be seriously regulating the use of plastic and styro materials. The total implementation is also stated in the ordinance. We will do our best to implement this because the previous ordinance was not really implemented due to the lack of information dissemination. The information dissemination campaign is clearly stated in the amendment.)

Section 10 of the ordinance states that all businesses in the city of Baguio shall post in a conspicuous place within business premises a signage that shall read, “Bawal ang Paggamit ng Plastic Bag at Styrofoam” or words to that effect.

The amendment includes the creation of a technical working group to monitor, oversee, and take the lead in the information or education campaign. It also provides for the issuance of notice of violation and penalty.

The technical working group will be headed by the city mayor; the city council committee on health sanitation, ecology and environmental protection as the vice chairperson; the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) as the action officer; and as members, the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president, the punong barangays with respect to their territorial jurisdiction, the City Health Services officer, the City General Services officer; the Public Order and Safety Division chief of the City Mayor’s Office, and the Baguio City Police Office.

The amended ordinance initially laid the provision that no business establishment shall provide to any consumer any plastic bag or polystyrene foam for goods or items purchased or serve food or drink, take out or dine in, to customers in polystyrene containers or in plastic bags.

Theretofore, all businesses shall 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 items for the point of sale.

As for penalty: for first offense, the guilty party shall be reprimanded or ordered for the closure of the business if there is no available business permit; for 2nd offense, a fine of P1,000; for 3rd offense, a fine of P3,000 and 8 hours of community service; for 4th offense, a fine of P5,000 and suspension of business permit for 6 months; and for habitual offenders, a non-renewal of business permit or closure of business.

The amendment was introduced by councilors Elaine Sembranon, Mylen Yaranon, Faustino Olowan, Leandro Yangot, Edgar Avila, Joel Alangsab, Elmer Datuin, Peter Fianza, Lilia Farinas, Arthur Allad-iw, Benny Bomogao, Michael Lawana; and Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.

  by Frank Cimatu |