BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance establishing the Bantay Kalikasan bureau in the city to intensify the city government’s environmental preservation and protection programs, projects and activities.
The ordinance authored by Councilors Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., Faustino A. Olowan, Michael L. Lawana and Levy Lloyd Orcales stated the bureau will be primarily tasked to synchronize the efforts of the public and private sectors to protect the environment and preserve the city’s balanced ecology.
Under the proposed ordinance, the Bantay Kalikasan bureau shall be composed of the City Mayor as chairperson to be co-chaired by the regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) and the chairman of the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM). The members include representatives from the academe, Liga ng mga Barangay, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and private sector preferably from the accredited environmental groups in the city.
The bureau shall plan and implement programs and activities that will protect the city’s environment; plan and implement activities in observance of the Earth Day every 22nd of April and the National Arbor Day every 25th day of June; intensify the participation of the community in accelerating reforestation in support of the environmental protection of the city’s urban ecosystem; prevent or prosecute any and all persons engaged in crimes against the environment and violations of environmental laws and regulations; enlist the assistance of local and regional offices, local governments, socio-civic organizations, environmental organizations and the expertise of individuals; undertake a continuing education campaign and to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinances and those that are necessary and incidental to the effective implementation of the proposed measure.
The ordinance stipulated the Bantay Kalikasan bureau, in consultation with the sectoral associations, shall draft the implementing rules and regulations for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the measure within 6 months after the approval of the same by the local chief executive.
The ordinance added that sufficient funds shall be allocated for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations and the implementation of the provisions of the measure and the same will be charged to the annual or supplemental budget of the local government.\
The proponents pointed out the protection of the city’s environment and preservation of balanced ecology is a primary concern which every local government unit must prioritize considering that the fast-paced development happening in and around the city through the years reportedly produced serious repercussions, particularly in terms of the state of the environment and ecology.
According to them, it is not yet too late to ensure the preservation and protection of the state of the city’s environment as the public and private sectors can put their acts together to resolve the snowballing concern.
The ordinance was referred to a committee for study and action.
By Dexter A. See