BAGUIO CITY: An ordinance regulating the sale, distribution and use of plastic bags and styrofoam in the Summer Capital has been approved on third reading by the city council. The measure, The Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance, will cover all business activities and establishments including city government schools and offices. It prohibits business establishments from providing customers any plastic bag or polystyrene foam container for goods or items purchased or serving food or drink, take out or dine in for customers in polystyrene containers or in plastic bags. The establishments are 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.” All businesses will be required to post a signage preventing the use of plastic and styrofoam and given one year to fully comply with the ordinance. Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Mylen Yaranon, ordinance proponents, said the new measure is an amendment to Baguio City Paper Bag Ordinance passed last year which mandates the use of paper bags, buri bags and other biodegradable containers in supermarkets, groceries and other retail businesses in the city. Penalties for violation are reprimand for the 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 on fourth offense. In case of violation by heads of government offices, school administrators, principals and concerned persons in authority will be subject to Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and other local orders and issuances. The measure also provides awards and recognition for those who will sustain compliance.
Gaby B. Keith