Speaker Arroyo backs legislation restricting plastic use in stores

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SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she is supporting the speedy passage of environmental measures such as restrictions on the use of plastic.

She said she has pending legislation cracking down on plastic shopping bags and containers, which can be the counterpart for Senator Cynthia A. Villar’s bill regulating single-use plastics,” Ms. Arroyo said during a coastal cleanup activity in Lubao, Pampanga on Monday.

“The two bills can be combined at bicameral level — they can be counterpart legislation to speed things up,” Ms. Arroyo added.

Ms. Arroyo is the author of House Bill 3579, the Plastic Bag Phase-out Act, which seeks to regulate production, sale, use and disposal of plastic bags and promote reusable bags.

The bill bans stores from giving out plastic and biodegradable plastic bags to customers. It exempts primary plastic packaging used to pre-pack food or in packaging used in the manufacture of finished products, among others.

Upon enactment of the proposed bill, stores will be required to charge a minimum of P5 for customers requesting plastic bags.

Of the total collection, 50% will kept by the store, while the other half will be remitted to the local government unit.

She said the disposal of plastics in the ocean ultimately reduces the supply of fish, raising food prices.

“As Senator Villar said, the more plastic that’s dumped in the oceans and rivers, the more fish are poisoned, which reduces our fish catch,” she said, noting that high fish prices are a major source of inflation. — Charmaine A. Tadalan