Baguio City’s paper bag ordinance given more teeth

BAGUIO CITY –City Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Maria Mylen Victoria Yaranon have proposed an ordinance that would put more teeth to a measure which endorses the use of paper and “buri” (palm tree leaves) bags and other biodegradable containers in all supermarkets, groceries and other retail business establishments in the city.

Yaranon said that Ordinance No. 26 s 2007 or the Baguio Paper Bag Ordinance was not fully implemented despite its supposed full implementation in 2012.

The proponents explained that in the last five years, it has been observed that the practice of using biodegradable bagging containers for shopping purposes has not been fully enforced despite the mandated cut-off period of 2012.

Supermarkets, groceries and retail outlets or stores in commercial zones within the city are continuously using plastic bags despite the prohibitive requirements of the ordinance.

“The ordinance has to be enforced to its fullest intent and to the extent possible of inculcating desired changes in our shopping practices for the city to control the use of plastic bags and plastic or polystyrene foam containers for an effective solid waste management in the light of the growing concern on environmental degradation due to these toxic materials,” they stated.

The combined proposed and existing ordinance will be called the “Baguio City Anti-Plastic Bag and Anti-Styrofoam Ordinance” to cover all business establishments and stores in the city.

The added provisions would expressly prohibit the establishments from providing the customers with any plastic bag or styrofoam.

These establishments will be required to provide its clientele only recyclable paper bags or containers or reusable bags to carry goods.

But, customers will not be prohibited from using bags or containers of any type that they bring to the store.

The proposal mandates the General Services Office to initiate an information, education and communication (IEC) campaign with six months after the approval of the proposal.

After the IEC campaign or after six months, the proposal shall be fully implemented.

The original penalties for the first to third offenses include a fine of PhP1,000 for first offense; PhP3,000 for second and PhP5,000 fine and three-month suspension of business permit for third offense.

Sembrano and Yaranon added a penalty for fourth offense wherein violators will have their business permits revoked and establishments closed.

The proposal was deferred for January 16 to include Councilor Faustino Olowan as a co-author. Jojo Lamaria/