By Glen S. Ramos
Baguio City mayor Ben Magalong stares in disgust at a dilapidated plastic street barrier left out on a sidestreet somewhere in the city.
BAGUIO City — Mayor Benjamin Magalong wants eyesores and nuisance in the city addressed, prohibited, and taken out of the streets as soon as possible.
“I have seen enough ugly spots including littered streets and business frontages, unkempt construction sites, dangling wires, dangerous posts, and signs indiscriminately placed, among others during my weekly inspections and these are sights unfit for a city considered as a favored tourist destination.”
“This should be addressed properly and as soon as possible,” Magalong stated.
The mayor has welcomed a proposed ordinance filed by Councilor Jose Molintas creating an administrative board for the reduction and elimination of all public nuisances in the city. It has been approved on first reading and referred to an appropriate committee last September 5, 2022.
The proposed ordinance states that the board will receive and hear complaints or reports on public nuisances; declare an act, activity or omission, neglected place or premises, structures, or signages to be a public nuisance as defined in Article 694 of the Civil code of the Philippines as amended and upon approval by the city council, petition the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio city for a permanent injunction against the public nuisance and collect actual and other damages incurred in the implementation of the order to abate the nuisance.
Furthermore, the administrative board shall be composed of the City Engineer as chairperson and the City Health Officer as vice chairperson with the City Legal Officer, City Police Director, City Building Official, 2 committee chairpersons from the city council, representatives from two (2) non-governmental organizations, and administrative staff from the city council where the latter shall act as secretariat.
If the administrative board declares an act, activity or omission, neglected place or premises, obstruction, structure or signages, noise, and other eye sores to be a public nuisance, it shall issue an order immediately stopping the same, prohibiting the conduct, operation or maintenance of any business or activity in the place of premises.
Orders issued by the administrative board shall expire after one year, or at such an earlier time as stated in the said order.
The City Mayor shall implement the order of the administrative board and assume full responsibility for seeing to it that the order is complied with. The City mayor shall determine the cost incurred in the implementation of the order and demand reimbursement from the person or company held responsible for causing the nuisance, otherwise, he or she would recommend actions pursuant to the ordinance.
However, the ordinance will not cover prohibited drug-related nuisances which are within the jurisdiction of the administrative board created under Ordinance No. 35, series of 2005.
The proposed ordinance was inspired by the Supreme Court’s introduction and adoption of innovations and best practices to ensure effective and immediate enforcement and redress for violations of environmental laws.
The ordinance assures that due process will be observed in the process of abating and preventing the nuisances when property rights are affected. The proposed administrative body would provide the party or parties complained with an opportunity why their acts, activities, omission, signages, structures, and other obstructions should not be suppressed, prevented, stopped, removed, or otherwise abated; then have its determination on the matter be implemented or prevented for a period of not more than one (1) year. (ai/mtvn)