BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance designating a Market Day for organic products in the city to provide avenues to sell the increasing number of organically produced products coming from the different parts of the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Michael L. Lawana stated all organic food and input establishments must register with the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) pursuant to Section 16 of Republic Act (RA) 10068.
Under the proposal the label of organic produce shall contain the name, logo or seal of the organic certifying body and the accreditation number issued by the DA-CAR, provided that, organic food or crops must be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, bio-engineered genes, genetically modified organisms and organic livestock raised for meat, eggs and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed and they may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products.
Under the proposal, the market outlet or trading post shall be at the Igorot Park between 6 am to 10 am during Saturdays and Sundays wherein temporary stalls shall be provided and erected by producers and sellers and that the same shall be dismantled after 10 am and that overall cleanliness of the area shall be restored.
The ordinance added all participating organic producers are required to comply with the business permit requirement of the local government before participating in the market affair.
Any person found in violation shall be penalized by fines of P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and the subsequent revocation of business permit for the third and succeeding offenses.
Further, any person, firm, entity or corporation who mislabels or claims that their products are organic when it is not as may be determined by the DA-CAR shall be barred and prohibited from participating in the market affair and the subsequent revocation of the issued business permit to them.
The ordinance claimed making healthy food choices, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are essential to good health and how food is grown or raised can have a major impact on the mental and emotional health as well as the environment of the people, thus, organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
It stipulated the city has limited market outlets for organic products from which the general public can access and purchase from, thus, the abundant and ready available organic produce in the city and nearby localities requires an accessible market outlet.
The ordinance cited the retailing of organic produce or retail establishments or stores of organic produce shall designate a separate area to display the organic produce to avoid mixing it with non-organic produce, thus, the availability of trading areas for organic inputs which the local chief executive shall establish as far as practicable must have at least one area for every local government.
By Dexter A. See