Baguio City – The solutions forum and write shop conducted by the City Government to finalize the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Ordinance No. 36 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio City Ordinance” generated significant insights and suggestions from the public.
The General Services office under officer-in-charge Eugene Buyucan who leads the Task Force to enforce the interim IRR said all the reactions and recommendations were collated and are now being summarized for submission to the monitoring and oversight committee headed by City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana as action officer.
Based on the inputs, the committee will finalize the IRR for submission to Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the City Council for approval.
Buyucan said results of the write shop contained suggestions for a three-month grace period to allow residents to further adjust to a plastic-free life and enable the business sector to exhaust their remaining stocks.
Another notable concern raised was the possibility of allowing the use of sando bags for primary packaging especially for grains and wet goods. Suggestions were also made on possible alternatives to plastic materials particularly in waste disposal.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan who welcomed the more than 200 participants to the forum emphasized the need for the City to go plastic-free and for all residents to cooperate to achieve its intention of protecting the environment and the health of the people. He admitted there are still grey areas like the need to find alternatives to plastic bags for wet items and the concern on the use of paper bags as a replacement but he expressed hopes that these concerns will later be addressed with the help of the stakeholders. “One thing is clear, what is prohibited is only those plastic materials that are damaging to the environment and we hope that technology will continue to improve to provide an answer to this need for plastic materials that are safe for our environment,” he said.
During the forum, Councilor Peter Fianza provided an overview of the ordinance and encouraged the participants to internalize the intent of the measure.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon said the ordinance is not anti-poor as claimed by some of the speakers who said the measure affects only the small businessmen thereby depriving them of their livelihood.
“Plastic was practically unknown in the old times and I think we can try to replicate that way of life for the sake of our environment and our future generation,” she said.