Puerto Princesa City’s ordinance regulating the use of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam in now on its one-year phase out period and will be in full effect by March 2020.
The ordinance was authored by City Councilors Roy Gregorio G. Ventura, Nesario G. Awat, Jimmy L. Carbonell, and incoming Vice Mayor Maria Nancy M. Socrates.
City Councilor Roy Gregorio G. Ventura, who is also the chairman of the committee on environment, welcomed the passage the ordinance. He said that its passage is timely and necessary in order for the city government to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program, which shall ensure the protection of the public health and environment as policy of the State declared in Section 2 of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The ordinance was signed by Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron on March 6, 2019, and will be in full force and effect next year.
Under Section 12 of the ordinance, the phase out period of one year is to give all business establishments a grace period of six months to dispose the existing stocks of their single-use plastics and single-use plastic bags. After the six-month period, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office is tasked to conduct an inventory of the remaining single-use plastic bags.
The ordinance imposes fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and imprisonment of not less than 15 days.
The city mayor may cancel or suspend the permit for a period of not more than 30 days if the violator commits the same violation for the third time. If the violator is a business establishment, the business owner/ proprietor shall be held liable.
Under the ordinance, business establishment are enjoined to provide paper bags as carry out bags. The ordinance also urged them to put up conspicuous signs and visible reminders to promote and encourage their customers to bring and use their own reusable, eco-friendly bags or pouch, containers, net bag, eco-bags, bayong and other eco-friendly bags and packaging.
The exemptions under the ordinance is the use of small plastic bags on wet goods, as carry items on tingi (retail) basis and the styrofoam used as containers of fish and new appliances, etc.
Barangay officials are deputized to apprehend and issue violation receipt/ ticket to any person found to be in violation of this ordinance. The barangay has 50 percent share of the fines paid by violators, and the other 50 percent will be remitted to the City Treasurer’s Office.
Prior to the implementation of the ordinance the City ENRO is mandated to conduct or undertake feasibility study for the provision of alternative receptacles for the disposition and marketing in order not to affect the environment in order not to affect the flow of trade and commerce of the city.
The ordinance also directed the City Information Office, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City Health Office, Oplan Linis, and City Solid Waste Management Program in partnership with the academe, barangay, market associations to conduct city-wide Information Education and Communication Campaign through print, radio, television and internet in promoting alternative packaging materials, waste avoidance, segregation and source reduction.
The ordinance said that the city’s generation of solid waste is projected to rise from 132 tons per day in 2017 to estimated 159 tons in 2027 based on the city government’s Ten Year Solid Waste Management Plan 2018-2027.
During the last quarter of 2018, the Regional Development Council (RDC) of MIMAROPA on its Full Council Meeting held on December 6, 2018, issued a resolution enjoining all local government units, national government agencies with regional offices in the region, business organizations and other stakeholders to prohibit the use of single-use plastic bag and packaging.