(File photo)

Councilor Nesario Awat clarified Friday that the implementation of City Ordinance 993 which would regulate and control the utilization of single-use plastics and polystyrene foam “in all establishments” in Puerto Princesa City will not yet take effect this year but in 2020.

Awat, one of the ordinance authors, made the clarification after Palawan News informed him about a circulating post that it will already be implemented in October this year.

“As far as I can remember [ay one year after pa ng approval] dahil siyempre ‘yon ay ginawa namin. So in short ay siyempre, ‘yon ang dapat na lumabas na version,” Awat said.

The one-year allowance,  he clarified further, is to give establishments enough time to adjust to the new law in the city.

However, Awat admitted that they have not yet received a copy of the ordinance which has already been signed by Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

He said if there was a typographical error in the ordinance document regarding the date, he said the City Council will have to correct it to indicate the one year delay they have agreed with the business establishments.

“Iyon naman talaga ang napagkasunduan,” he added.

Awat said the ban on the use of plastic cups, drinking straws, cutleries, coffee stirrers, styrofoam, and bags will help in the preservation of the environment by reducing plastic wastes.

He said establishments caught violating the ordinance will be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second violation; and P5,000 for the succeeding offenses with the cancellation of their mayor’s and business permits.

“Number one alam naman natin ‘yong plastic ay may problema once na ito ay hindi natin nadi-dispose ng tama. Number one problem diyan, although sinusunog, so ‘yong ozone layer [ang mada-damage]. Pangalawa, sa dagat pumupunta ‘yan at saka kung sa lupa matagal naman ‘yan malusaw… siyempre nagka-clog ‘yong ating mga drainage because of plastics. So in short, hindi siya environmentally friendly kasi hindi siya matatawag na biodegradable. So dahil diyan, we have to regulate the use of plastics. Iyan ang purpose niyan, for the protection of all of us,” Awat said.