Dress code ordinance in Baguio proposed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting going half-naked in public places within the city and providing penalties for violation of the measure which will be known as the ‘Dress Code Ordinance’ in the city.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the measure aims to inform all individuals to properly and decently dress themselves while moving around public places as well as to promote modesty and decency within the city.

Under the proposed ordinance, no individual shall roam around the city naked or wearing apparel covering only the lowermost or uppermost part of his or her body without any top or bottom clothing.

Further, the edict stipulated that it is the duty and responsibility of a parent or guardian to disallow or discipline their minor children to go naked or half-naked in any public place in the city.

Yangot explained that vendors in the city public and satellite markets are prohibited from wearing tattered clothes or going topless while vendors in the wet and carinderia sections shall attire themselves with aprons.

However, women who are nursing and feeding their children in public, members of the indigenous peoples wearing ethnic apparel on account of their customs and traditions, artists and street performers who are performing within the standards of their trade, provided that, the activity does not exceed the community standards of tolerance and the artists possess special permits issued by the local government for the purpose, victims of accidents who require immediate medical emergencies, water sports enthusiasts practicing or loitering in public swimming pools and rivers, penitents initiating penitential processions during the Lenten season, protesters on account of their school-related traditions, porters carrying heavy amount of load for deliveries on rainy season and any person who is prevented from wearing his shirt and has to walk half-naked in public places on account of any justifiable cause, unavoidable circumstances or accidents are exempted from the coverage of the measure.

Violators of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized by reprimand for the first offense, a fine of not less than P500 or 3 hours of community service for the second offense and a fine of not less than P1,000 or 8 hours of community service for the third offense.

The ordinance added that the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) in coordination with the City Public Order and Safety Division and City Market Superintendent will be tasked to monitor the effective implementation of the measure.

Yangot asserted that decency, through the proper wearing of garments gives an image of cleanliness that goes with proper grooming and personal hygiene and that the fashion of today’s youth points to the extinction of modesty, which is a virtue, is seen as being out of style or old fashioned and going naked or half-naked on the streets ruins the interest of the city as the “tourism mecca’ and education capital of the north.

He pointed out that toplessness has serious drawbacks aside from sunburn or  cumbersome discomfort, men going shirtless gives them the impression of being thugs; as for women who are even scantily dressed, the public mistakes them for prostitutes, else they invite themselves to harassment. By Dexter A. See

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