Baguio prepares for full implementation of plastic, styro ban

BAGUIO CITY — The city government is eyeing the full implementation of the plastic and styrofor ban by May 2018, as provided for in City Ordinance 35-2007, a city official said Thursday.

Cordelia Lacsamana, City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) chief, said this during the “Talakayan sa City Environment Code” of Radyo Pilipinas-Baguio and the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM).

At present, the office is coming up with a mechanism for the successful full implementation of the ordinance that provides for the regulation of the sale, distribution and use of plastic bags and styrofoam.

“There will be a mechanism to be put in place and we need to follow them,” Lacsamana said.

Meetings with different stakeholders – shopping malls, supermarkets, public market organizations and people in the barangays — are being held aside from the weekly solution forum being held by the Presidential Communications Operations Office  through RadyoPilipinas-Baguio and the BRM in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera, Philippine News Agency-Baguio and different media outfits in the city.

Lacsamana added that they hope to have a declaration of the city government hall and other attached offices as a “no plastic zone” imposing the same rule to the less than 2,000 city employees.

“We want the city to be the model in the implementation so that we can encourage the others to follow,” she said, adding “the city should be the first to do it.”

Lacsamana said Mayor Mauricio Domogan has created a task force — a plastic phase-out action team — to operationalize the Ordinance 35-2017 approved on May 4, 2017 which also provides for a one-year transition period.

Lawyer Erdolfo Balajadia, BRM chairperson, said the use of woven baskets can be revived as the city pushes for the non-use of plastic bags.

“We can advocate for the ‘balikbayong’ program and encourage the public to use them so that manufacturers will be encouraged to produce bayong, instead of using plastic bags for the things they buy,” he said.

Balajadia urged the city government through the CEPMO to help produce the “bayong” or eco-bags, which at present are costly but the local government can subsidize and provide at cheap prices or even below the production cost for the residents to have one to be used for the goods they buy.

He said an honest to goodness enforcement of the ordinance starting earlier than the deadline should be in place to prevent a scenario where the public will be discouraged to comply.

Andre Amadeo, OIC station manager of Radyo Pilipinas-Baguio who facilitated the forum, said “it is a matter of behavioral change which is workable in the city considering the active engagement of city residents on issues involving the environment.”

Sunstar reporter Jonathan Llanes said the program implementation is feasible as he talked about the observation of how obedient the city residents are.