Minimal fee for fitness instructors in parks eyed

A proposed ordinance setting a minimal fee for fitness instructors collecting donations/fees within public parks in the city has been approved by the city council on first reading.

Under the ordinance, the conduct of fitness activities such as zumba, tae bo, tai chi, among others, shall be allowed provided the fitness instructors collecting donations/fees shall pay a fee of P100.00 per session to the City Treasurer’s Office before using the area.

The receipt shall be presented to the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) for recording purposes and proper booking of the area. The receipt shall likewise be presented to the personnel of the CEPMO or any security personnel monitoring the area.

Fitness instructors that do not charge fees/dues or do not collect donations from participants SHALL NOT be charged for the use of the area.

Fitness activities within parks initiated or sponsored by the government shall likewise be exempted from the payment of the fee.

The CEPMO shall identify areas within the parks where such activities shall be permitted and shall determine which activities may be conducted thereat.

The fitness instructor or their representative shall inform the CEPMO of their intent to use the area indicating the purpose and necessary details such as date, time, house of use, and estimated number of participants at least two days prior to the activity. Permits as may be required by the city government or by the CEPMO shall also be complied with.

Any fitness instructor found violating the ordinance shall be banned from conducting any health activity within the parks.

The CEPMO shall be tasked to prepare necessary guidelines, if needed, for the purpose. The guidelines shall be submitted to the city council for amendments if necessary.

Introduced by Councilors Elaine Sembrano, Philian Weygan-Allan, and Michael Lawana, the proposed ordinance stipulated that the imposition of a minimal fee for the use of these areas by fitness instructors shall instill in them responsibility and accountability when using the parks that are maintained by the city government.

According to the ordinance, the collected fees from the fitness instructors shall be used for the beautification, upkeep, and maintenance of the different parks in the city.

The proposed ordinance is a proposed amendment to Section 31 of the Environment Code of the City of Baguio (Ordinance No. 18, s. 2016) to include a provision that would regulate the use of areas within parks for fitness activities conducted by fitness instructors soliciting donations/fees from participants of such activities.

The councilors deemed it necessary to include such a provision as Section 31 of the Environment Code provides for the user fees and rentals for the use of parks, open spaces, and amenities specifically for big events, but such fees are considered inapplicable to activities participated by small groups such as those conducted by fitness instructors.

Under the said section of the Environment Code, fees for the use of certain areas in parks such as Burnham Park and Diplomat heritage Hill range from P500.00 to P40,000.00.

The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the Sanggunian’s Committee on Appropriations and Finance for review and recommendations. –Jordan G. Habbiling