Councilor Rama pushes ordinance to ban, regulate single-use plastic in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Regulating and banning single-use plastic products is an urgent issue in Cebu and one that should be resolved even without a national law.
Cebu City Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr. made this statement on Tuesday, December 3, after the public hearing called by the City Council and attended by representatives from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro).
In an interview with reporters, Rama said the city government cannot wait for a national law that will ban or regulate single-use plastic as the garbage accumulated by the using these products is an immediate problem that the city currently faces.
Rama is among the 15th City Council members who is a staunch advocate for the ban and/or regulation of single-use plastic products. He has made this stand since his last term in the council that ran from 2016 to 2019.
The councilor is proposing to prohibit the use of single-use disposable materials including utensils or cutleries in all business establishments. He also calls for prescribing penalties for establishments who violates the prohibition.
Rama said this is a small step toward the full ban of single-use plastic.
Rama admitted that a full ban may be implemented after many years since a sudden ban of single-use plastic may seriously affect the business sector.
During the December 3 public hearing of the four ordinances, which calls for regulating single-use plastics, Councilor Antonio Cuenco raised the concern of reciprocity between the proposed ordinance and a proposed bill in the Senate.
If a section of the Cebu City ordinance will be in conflict with the national law that would be passed, Cuenco said the ordinance may be deemed unlawful or unconstitutional.
A veteran lawmaker, Cuenco, who used to be a representative of Cebu City’s South District, reminded the younger councilors that the city cannot create laws but can only create ordinances based on laws.
This was echoed by Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the presiding officer of the council, who said that the ordinance must be based on an existing law within the limits of the power accorded to the Sanggunian by the Local Government Code.
For Councilor Rama, the city cannot keep waiting for an actual law regulating single-use plastic before it can make its own ordinance.
“Laws take time to be passed. It may take years. We cannot keep waiting. If other cities can do it, why can’t we do it?” said Rama.
Councilor Rama said Cebu City lags behind the regulation of single-use plastic. He said Cebu City is among the cities which “produce the most garbage with the most plastic.”
The councilor said he will continue to push for the regulation and ban of single-use plastic.
Councilor Rama said he is confident that the ordinance will be passed in the 15th City Council as he believes in the vision of a Cebu City that is plastic-free in the future. / celr
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