ALBUERA, LEYTE – A public hearing on LGU-Albuera’s Municipal Ordinance No. 03, regulating the use of plastic and polystyrene, providing mechanisms for its recovery and recycling, encouraging the use of sustainable biodegradable materials, and providing penalties for violation thereof, took place at the ABC Multipurpose and Training Center Building on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 in this town.

Accordingly, the purpose of the ordinance is in line with the shared mandate and responsibility of the local government of Albuera, Leyte together with the State in the management and maintenance of the ecological balance, preservation, and protection of the environment.

It is authored by Municipal Councilor Roxanne R. Zaldivar and was realized due to the said municipality’s desire to regulate the “single use of plastic cellophane and sando bags and eventual prohibition of the use, sale, and provision of polystyrene as food and beverage containers; encourage the utilization of alternative packaging materials such as woven bags (bayong), cloth/paper bags, and other similar organic packaging materials; and likewise advocate the No Plastic Day and Bring Your Own Bag programs of the government to protect and advance the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accordance with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

The council believes that in order to safeguard and conserve the environment, there is a need to discontinue the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene products and consequently shift to sustainable biodegradable materials, including but not limited to woven bags (bayong), cloth bags (katsa), oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, biodegradable polystyrene, and other similar reusable, biodegradable, and recyclable materials.

Business establishments, sari-sari stores, ambulant vendors, market vendors, food kiosks, and the like who violate Section 3 and Section 8 of said ordinance shall be fined Php 500.00 for the first offense; Php 1,000.00 for the second offense; and Php 2,000.00 and cancellation of their license to operate in the case of business establishments until determined to have been compliant for the third offense. In addition, a moratorium on the implementation of said ordinance is also in place with all business establishments engaged in the use and/or sale of plastic bags and styrofoam as packaging materials for food and beverages to be given two months from the date of effectivity of the ordinance to dispose of their remaining inventory and for consumers to adjust and conform. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail November 21-27, 2022 issue)