The city council has introduced a proposed ordinance providing more specific guidelines on the confiscation and disposition of goods.

The proposed ordinance shall consolidate rules and regulations found under two similar existing measures (Ordinance 005-1995 and Resolution 326-202), providing more specific provisions regarding fines, manner of confiscation, and the like.

Likewise, the proposed ordinance seeks to define the functions of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) under the City Mayor’s Office on the confiscation and disposition of food items and other merchandise.

Existing policies prohibit the selling of food items and merchandise in designated passageways or alleys in the central business district, in the city public market, in all parks, in all overpasses, and in all other public places in the city.

Under the proposed measure, all POSD enforcers shall be tasked to conduct roving, posting, and joint clearing operations to confiscate food items and merchandise of illegal vendors and demolish illegally built vending structures. However, they shall be “circumspect” in dealing with erring vendors, thus  may seek the assistance of the Baguio City Police Office, the office of the Market Superintendent, the Demolition Team of the City Buildings and Architecture Office, or other concerned enforcement units.

The proposed ordinance further states that careful handling shall be observed to avoid any “physical harm or injury befalling the concerned vendors.”

All POSD enforcers, in the discharge of their duties, shall observe due courtesy and proper respect as befitting servants of the City Government of Baguio, according to the proposed measure.

The ordinance proposes that arresting the violator and bringing them to the Baguio City Police Office for processing is the proper procedure when a POSD enforcer fails to separate the goods from the illegal vendor.

Furthermore, all POSD enforcers, in their daily enforcement of the anti-peddling operations, shall always wear the appropriate identification cards and uniform/vest while on duty especially during their engagement with ambulant, itinerant, or illegal sidewalk vendors. They shall also maintain a logbook to record the daily inventory of confiscated merchandise and shall regularly update the same for the subsequent submission of a monthly report to the City Mayor.

The proposed ordinance specifies that owners shall claim their confiscated goods within 24 hours from the date of confiscation or earlier upon paying an administrative fine of P1,000.00 to the City Treasury Office.

Violators who voluntarily acknowledge their infractions and are willing to pay an administrative fine of P1,000.00 to the City Treasury Office shall neither be detained and be subjected to prosecution nor incur a police blotter or any court of record.

Confiscated goods that are unclaimed shall be turned over to the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) for its proper disposition. Spoiled food items shall be discarded by the POSD.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office may endorse the requests of intended recipients of the confiscated goods to the City Mayor for approval. All granted requests shall also be properly logged and regularly updated and included in the monthly report to be submitted to the City Mayor.

The proposed ordinance shall also impose a fine of P5,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months to individuals who are found selling or misusing confiscated goods.

Following its approval on first reading, the proposal has been referred to the Sanggunian’s Committee on Laws, Human Rights, and Justice for review and recommendations. –Jordan G. Habbiling