Muntinlupa mulls stiffer penalties for plastic ban violators, tax breaks for followers
By Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro has asked the city council to amend Metro Manila’s landmark ban on plastic and styrofoam use and include stiffer penalties for erring establishments and tax incentives for the obedient ones.
Even if the compliance rate among business establishments in Muntinlupa City since the ordinance took effect in January 2011 was recorded to be close to 90 percent, the city government officials and San Pedro still wanted to improve the measure, Omar Acosta, the city’s public information chief, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Acosta said San Pedro had spoken with majority of the councilors about his plan to submit the final version of the proposed amendments this week.
“Our goal is not to totally eradicate plastic because it is impossible to do. What we want is for the city residents to learn how to use plastic bags wisely,” Acosta said, speaking in behalf of San Pedro.
Since January 2011, 1,400 establishments have been issued violation tickets and seven who committed violations at least four times faced closure, records of the city’s Environment Sanitation Center showed.
In San Pedro’s proposal, those whose business permits had been cancelled due to ordinance violations should no longer have the opportunity to appeal to make them feel that the ordinance was enforced strictly, Acosta said.
According to the 2010 Ordinance 10-109, violators will be fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second and P2,500 for the third, while imprisonment will be decided upon by the court.
The city government may also opt for the suspension or cancellation of the business’ license to operate.
San Pedro also asked the council to include in the amendments community service as part of the punishment for erring establishments on their first offense.
Apart from these, establishments will be required to put up plastic recovery drop-off points and each of the nine barangay (villages) to have a plastic bin where used plastic bags, cups, drinking straws will be collected for reusing and recycling.
He also pitched the ban on the use of plastic drinking straws on Fridays and Saturdays.
More so, Acosta said, it would be equally important to reward businesses complying with the ordinance since its kickoff with annual tax incentives.
“The mayor asked the councilors to tackle what specific tax incentives would be apt for these business establishments,” he said.
For two years, at least seven cities in Metro Manila have followed the Muntinlupa’s lead by passing an ordinance to regulate plastic and styrofoam use.