If you are used to rely on your vendor’s plastic bag, better bring your own reusable bag because the city government will be fully implementing its Plastic Bag Regulation and Polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) Ordinance No. 694, this January 2019.

This was announced during dialogue and consultation with market vendors and consumers at the wet market recently.

In attendance were Business Permits and Licensing Officer Mary Jean Abrero, City Treasurer Marissa Soliven, OIC Market Administrator Loida Gacusana, Louie Garnace, one of the senior staff of City Environment and Natural Resources Office and representing CENRO Engr. Ishmael Ganaban, and City Information Officer Leoncio Balbin, Jr.

Garnace led the discussion of the ordinance.

He said that the ordinance which was approved in August 2015 was delayed due to the formulation of the Internal Rules and Regulations, to give more leeway to the vendors and buyers to adjust and prepare, the dissemination campaign and also for the city government to ready the needed document particularly the receipts for the possible violators.

The prohibition of plastic bags and styrofoams is already enforced in many places in the country and most likely be adopted in another places.

The use of plastic bags lower than the regulated thickness of 15 microns by commercial establishments and vendors in talipapa, tiangge, hawkers, and the like is prohibited.

Plastic bags with no handles, holes, or strings commonly used for wrapping unpacked fresh foods and cooked foods at supermarkets, wet and dry markets, restaurants, canteen, and the like are not included under the prohibition and regulation as the usage of such plastic bag is justified on the grounds of public hygiene.

In the “One Plastic Bag Policy,” commercial establishments and vendors in talipapa, tiangge, hawkers, and the like shall only use one plastic bag as primary packing material.

Commercial establishments and vendors in talipapa, tiangge, hawkers, and the like shall use plastic bag as secondary packing material. For secondary packaging material, they shall use paper bags/reusable bags.

Also all commercial establishments using plastic bags in their business transaction are mandated to display conspicuously in their stores, specifically in the transaction counter, the environment friendly notice “Save the Environment, bring your recyclable/reusable bags”.

On the other hand, no commercial establishment and vendor in talipapa, tiangge, hawkers and the like shall use said material as container for food, produce or other products.

Also stated in the IRR is the prohibition on the selling and provision of plastic bags and polystyrene foam. However they may sell reusable bags as carryout bags for secondary packing material.

All business establishments are also barred from selling and providing Styrofoam as container for food, produce or other products.

Any establishment or vendor that violates any prohibited acts and other provisions of the Ordinance shall be charged of an infraction and be meted out with the penalty of P500 fine for first offense, P1,000 for second offense and P2,500 for third offense and cancellation of license to operate for a period of one year.

Also in the IRR is the creation of a special task force and its purpose.

The city Environment and Natural Resources Officer is tasked as team leader with the City Treasurer, City Economic Enterprise Development and Management Officer, City Business Permits and Licensing Officer, City Planning and Development Officer, City Health Officer, City Information Officer, Barangay Captains and two Non-Governmental Organization representatives to be designated by the Local Chief Executive.

The task force acts as recommending body to the LCE for effective /proper implementation of the ordinance, oversee the information, education and communication campaign regarding the provisions of the ordinance and its IRR, monitor compliance of every stakeholder to the ordinance and formulate a system of rewards and incentives for complying stakeholders.

The authorized enforcing officers are members of the task force, Philippine National Police, deputized ESWM enforcers, barangay officials and barangay police force members, and any other duty authorized representative of the LCE.

Fifty percent of all fines as penalties collected from the enforcement of the ordinance shall be rewarded to the barangay where the establishment is located, subject however to existing accounting and auditing rules and regulations. (LBJ)

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