Mandatory smoke emission testing for gov’t vehicles, proposed

The local legislature passed on first reading a proposed ordinance authored by councilor Elaine Sembrano “strictly requiring city government offices including all national line agencies with offices in the territorial jurisdiction of the city of Baguio to undergo mandatory smoke emission test of their vehicles at least two times a year, amending section 76 of city ordinance numbered 18, series of 2016”.

The measure states that the Environment Code of the City of Baguio and its Clean Air Ordinance were enacted as measures to improve the city’s air quality.

“Being a highly-urbanized local government unit, the continuing influx of people and motor vehicles is affecting the city’s air quality,” it adds.

The measure cites a recent report of City Environment Parks Management Office (CEPMO) head Cordelia Lacsamana revealing that Baguio’s air quality index as monitored by 19 established monitoring sites is from “good to fair” and that roadside air quality in the central business district improved by two percent.

“Nevertheless, as a tourist destination known for its towering pine trees, soothing sunflowers and cool refreshing climate, there is a need to adopt ways and means to enhance further the quality of air people breathe,” it adds.

The ordinance stressed that the government, all its branches, agencies and instrumentalities need to take the lead in providing clean air for its people, not because it is mandated by law but because it is imperative to human life.

If finally approved, the proposed ordinance shall be applied to all local government offices including the barangays and national line agencies and institutions, government operated and controlled corporations (GOCCs) as well as quasi-government offices and instrumentalities operating in the city.

It shall also be mandatory for all the offices to have their government service vehicles undergo the required smoke emission test to be conducted by the city’s Roadside Inspection, Testing and Monitoring Team (RITMT) through the CEPMO head a list of their government service vehicles used by the local office for proper inventory.

“Such information shall also form part of the data for benchmarking purposes relative to the campaign of the government for clean air,” the measure states.

It tasks the Clean Air Monitoring Committee through the CEPMO head to regularly notify all government offices identified of the mandatory smoke emission test for their offices’ service vehicles as provided in the ordinance.

“Smoke emission testing for national line agencies and institutions, GOCCs, quasi-government offices and instrumentalities operating in Baguio shall be free, provided that service vehicles are part of their local office inventory of motor vehicles accompanied by a request for smoke emission testing signed by the duly authorized head of office or his representative and within the period herein specified,” the ordinance states.-gaby keith and rebecca tial (pio intern)