ILOILO City – The Sangguniang Panlungsod has approved an ordinance regulating the use of public plazas.
Authored by Councilor Jay Treñas III, it aims to protect and conserve the natural, aesthetic and historical values of public plazas “for the benefit of the current and future generations.”
Section 5 of the ordinance provides general provisions on the use of public plazas; this should be limited to only the following:
* as venue for community assemblies, community participation and social interaction
* as venue for learning and leisure
* as venue for promoting sports, culture and art activities
* as venue for promoting environmental awareness, healthy lifestyle, and public safety
Any individual or group may enter the plaza, stay and engage in activities without the need for permit and fee provided the activities are not considered organized events.
Also, the use of all public plazas is limited from 4 a.m. until midnight only for non-minors.
For minors, the plazas shall be open from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. in accordance with Regulation Ordinance No. 2016-230 (curfew ordinance for minors).
Without securing a permit from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which is in-charge of the plazas, organized events there are prohibited.
The type of organized activities to be permitted shall be, but not limited to, assemblies, campaigns, drills, trainings, demonstrations, exhibits, and shows.
Special events such as those organized for more than a day or where more than 100 people are expected to attend shall require a Mayor’s Executive Order.
On the other hand, pursuant to Section 6 of Regulation Ordinance 00-054 (or An Ordinance Declaring Certain Building Structures or Sites in Iloilo City as Local Heritage Or Legacy Buildings, Structures or Sites), the use of Plaza Libertad, Molo Plaza, Arevalo Plaza, Mandurriao Plaza, La Paz Plaza, and Jaro Plaza during fiesta, historical and cultural celebrations shall be regulated by CENRO.
Trade fairs shall be allowed provided these will be in designated areas only and for a limited time of no more than three days. These shall culminate seven days before the actual date of the fiesta, historical or cultural celebration and permit shall be secured from the CENRO.
All other activities may be allowed provided these shall be for a limited period of 10 days and a permit is likewise secured from CENRO, in designated places only and for purposes of promoting tourism, development trade and investment, promoting environmental awareness, healthy lifestyle, public safety, and promoting culture and arts.
Vending during regular days shall be allowed provided it will be done only in designated areas outside the periphery of the plaza and after the issuance of a permit by the CENRO and for a limited time.
Also, the new ordinance prohibits cooking and washing inside the plaza. Cooking will only be allowed by way of a permit during special event.
Other prohibitions include alcoholic beverages, gambling and other acts against public order; bicycle and motorized vehicles inside the plaza premises.
Violation of the various provisions of the ordinance has corresponding penalties (fines).
The ordinance will take effect on March 1, 2020./PN