Business establishments in the city are gearing up for the implementation in April of the ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags.

The ordinance that will impose the ban will go full swing on April 17.

Russel Fernandez, public relations officer of SM City Puerto Princesa, said Wednesday that in their mall, memoranda regarding the ordinance have already been issued to their tenants to mandate them to start reducing the use of plastic materials and bags even prior to implementation.

“When the ordinance was passed, the mall management informed our tenants and reminded them of our previous memos. Since then, they started ordering alternative packaging materials and stopped offering plastic straws and utensils. We even invited the City Council and the City ENRO (Environment and Natural Resources Office) for information dissemination with our tenants. At present, we’re compliant to the no re-ordering of plastic bags, etc. as mandated by the city government,” he said.

City Ordinance No. 993 was approved by mayor Lucilo R. Bayron on March 6, 2019, after more than three years of deliberations and public consultations.

Councilor Nesario Awat, one of the bill’s proponents, in an earlier interview with Palawan News said that the ban specifically targets plastic cups, drinking straws, plastic cutleries, coffee stirrers, and plastic bags.

Meanwhile, “Aling Josie”, a 56-year old vendor in the Old Public Market who sought anonymity, on Monday said that finding alternatives is cumbersome pointing out the price difference between a “roll bag” priced at P18-P20 per 100-piece, compared to a “brown paper bag” valued at P26-P30.

“Maganda naman ‘yong batas kasi grabe na din ang basura pero hindi pa namin alam pano namin ‘yon gagawin. Ako, ‘yong tinda ko gulay pwede ba ako maningil ng piso kung wala silang dalang eco bag at ibabalot ko ‘yong pinamili nila sa paper bag?”, she wondered.

Edilberto “Kuya Edong” Magpayo, a proponent of Ayaw ni Princesa sa Single-Use Plastic, suggested that individuals may revert to the use of “abaca” bags, and bringing reusable containers when going on a market run.

“Hangad din po natin na ang mga nasa palengke ay mahimok ang kanilang mamimili na magdala ng mga reusable Tupperware or plastic bags, para makatulong po sa tuluyang pagbawas ng Single-Use-Plastic,” Magpayo said.

However, the city ordinance provides certain exceptions:

* Use of “plastic labo” or “roll bags” primarily used for wet goods;
* Certain items on “tingi” basis;
* Use of Styrofoam for fish and new appliance packaging;
* Plastic straws and cups primarily packaged as-is;
* Use of plastic utensils on certain occasions such as birthdays, wake, night vigil, and use in private places or households.

Campaign for the use of eco-bags has also been the trend since the city law came to life.

Recent observations show that paper straws are now being offered instead of plastic straws; plastic utensils are already banned to dine-in customers; and for takeout food, no alternative has been identified yet but plastic utensils are no longer being provided.

The city law will be implemented on April 17, 2020, one year after its approval given as “transition period” for the establishments to adjust on the city plastic regulation policy.


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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.