BARP supports ‘No to plastic bags in Baguio City’ advocacy

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By Benny Balweg

Snapshot Focus

Friday, July 4, 2014


LAST June 2, 2014, an invitation letter from the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary was received at the BARP Main Office at Otek St., corner Bautista Drive. It was signed by Program Coordinator Judy Cariño, conformed by MES Administrator Maria Olivia Gregorio and addressed to BARP President/CEO Federico A. Balanag.

The penultimate paragraph read:"We would like to invite you to provide a brief message of support to the NO to PLASTIC BAG CAMPAIGN on behalf of the senior citizens ... this will be on Thursday, 3 July 2014 at 9 a.m. Assembly time is at 8:30 in the garden in front of Baguio City Hall."

As is his modus operandi upon receiving communications, CEO Balanag acted right away in response.He turned to me, who happened to be nearby and asked if I would go on his behalf. After his explanation and instruction, I accepted the assignment more than willingly. Environmental concerns are BARP menu, more so mine.

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The group of Baguio citizens and their sympathizers belonging to various organizations gathered there and then at the scheduled time and place to air their urgent request to the City Government to implement City Ordinance 26-2007. This Ordinance was passed about eight years ago but never implemented. Thus the clamor, backed up by over twelve thousand (12,000) signatures, well above the required ten thousand (10,000) signatures in order that a call for a citizens' forum be entertained by the City Council. The signatures, systematically contained in two thick bound volumes, were submitted (symbolically carried by a beauteous young one and an ethnically attired young once) after the outdoor program to the Mayor's Office while each of the councilors was given an explanatory and request letter for a forum with the whole Council.

In the program proper, the BARP representative was called to give his message wherein he congratulated the conceptualizers and organizers of the affair and relayed the most whole-hearted support of the thousands strong members of the Blessed Association of Retired Persons Foundation, Inc., including its subsidiary, the BARP Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and the equally unstinted support and encouragement of the Cooperative Union of Baguio City (CUBC) under the indefatigable leadership of its Chairman, Engr. Susan Angaga, herself an avid environmentalist. Thereafter, resolution upon resolution were read and submitted by the participating organizations of mostly young people, terminating with an awaited message by Councilor Elaine Zembrano, who assured that she would file an amendatory ordinance to better meet present situations, like funding for more thorough educative and informative activities and the manpower needed.

Documentation was enthusiastically done to the encouragement of participants, who argued that if other places are successfully observing the no-plastic-bag policy put in place with political will, why can't the City of Baguio which is a major tourist destination for its unique qualities like cool climate and exotic fauna.

The requested citizens' forum is expected to be held hopefully next Monday, July 7, 2014, at the Session Hall at 2 p.m. The organizers, who they said were "surprised at today's attendance", are confident of a bigger one at the coming citizens' forum. So, shall we say come one, come all who care for the environment, for Mother Nature, God's handiwork?

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 05, 2014.

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