City intensifies anti-littering drive, eyes congestion, env’tal fees

Baguio City Officials together with the PMA Superintendent held a short program to commerate the life and works of Jose Rizal last December 30 at Rizal Park.**Neil Clark Ongchangco

BAGUIO CITY – The city government intensified its anti-littering campaign amid the Christmas holiday to contend with the garbage problem which worsened as more tourists spent their break in this Summer Capital.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong rued “the lack of discipline and mindfulness in the disposal of trash” especially at the central business district where people milled starting Dec. 23 prompting him to order Baguio City Police Director PCol Allen Co to launch an aggressive anti-littering drive effective Dec. 28.
He said he will also recommend to the city council the passage of ordinances that will impose congestion and environmental fees to tourists for the protection of the city’s environs.
Last Dec. 27, he directed the police to arrest those who indiscriminately throw their refuse and penalize restaurants and business establishments in the city that do not observe the proper time of bringing out their trash.
“Our City is overwhelmed with trash this holiday season, hence, I am asking for your cooperation,” the mayor said.
Co said the campaign resulted in the apprehension of a total of 49 violators from Dec. 28 adding that the ordinance will be enforced not only during peak tourist seasons.
General Service Officer Eugene Buyucan personally monitored the garbage disposal and collection along Session Road last December 29 and called out establishments that brought out their garbage outside the prescribed time of 5 p.m. and 2 a.m.
He said violators were identified and reported to the Permits and Licensing Division and the sanitary division of the City Health Office for sanctions.
The mayor earlier sought the imposition of maximum allowable penalties for those violating the city’s ordinance on cleanliness including the establishments neglecting the upkeep of their surroundings.
A proposed amendatory ordinance to upgrade the existing one is now being considered at the city council.
Ordinance No. 47-95 is entitled, “Amending the Penal Provisions of Ordinance No. 54-88 Entitled ‘An Ordinance Penalizing Illegal Disposal of Refuse, Excrement and Egesta, Removal or Destruction of Receptacles for Refuse and Illegal Obstruction of Waterways and Dumping into Bodies of Water Requiring Certain Persons, Institutions and Establishments to Provide for Receptacles for Refuse to Keep Surroundings Clean and to Pick Up Litters Providing for Amnesty from Prosecution…’”
The measure metes penalties of P150 fine and/or 20-30-day imprisonment for first offense and P250 fine and/or 45-day incarceration for second and succeeding offenses.
The mayor said the city should impose the highest allowable penalties to compel residents to comply with the law.** Aileen P. Refuerzo

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