STUDIES commissioned by the Baguio City government are suggesting a “garbage tax” for tourists and students to help shore up the city’s waste management woes.
Saint Louis University economics professor Gladys Navarro, who was commissioned by Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong to undertake research on the matter, proposed three fees that the city can implement to aid the city in waste management.
The proposals include a fee increase for tourists’ hotel bills of up to P20 to account for their expected waste generation during their stay, an increase in tuition fees for university students of up to P120 for the same purpose, and a minimal fee for households throwing garbage, based on the volume of garbage disposed of.
The minimal fee for households has been brought up before by Navarro, who claimed 72 percent of the surveyed respondents in the study have stated their willingness to shoulder the costs for localized solid waste management services.
The study also suggested the full privatization of Baguio’s waste management, but respondents from the same survey objected to the move, concerned over the possibilities of monopoly driving high garbage fees.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the VISITA (Visitor Information and Travel Assistance) system could also be retooled to charge environmental fees to cover day tourists who leave their trash behind.
Magalong has urged the City Council to take the input from the studies into consideration and prioritize the crafting of a waste management plan that can then be implemented by the city regardless of who assumes power post the May elections.
“The 2019 urban carrying capacity study of Baguio says our solid waste management threshold was breached in 1994. We haven’t solved this problem in 28 years. Shame on us,” Magalong said.