In Eastern Samar

‘BAYONG’ on the rise. As the municipality of Oras in Eastern Samar prohibits the use of plastic, it now encourages the locals to use ‘bayong’ which is made of indigenous dried leaves like ‘bariw.’ Photo shows bayong weavers of the town.

TACLOBAN CITY- A town in Eastern Samar is leading a campaign against the proliferation of plastic and styrofoam with the enactment of a measure for such a purpose.

While the measure prohibiting the use of plastic-made materials was introduced in January of this year, it was not been fully enforced by the municipal government.

This is because the municipal government has to wait for the production of ‘bayong’ a native woven bag made of dried leaves like ‘bariw’ or pandan which is aplenty in Oras, a third-class town 175 kms away from Tacloban City.

The municipal government, led by its mayor, Roy Ador, launched the distribution of bayongs to the families of the town last Saturday (April 15).

The bayong will serve as an alternative to the use of plastic by the locals whenever they go to the market or establishment.

Ador said that during the launching, they were able to distribute 5,000 bayongs, still short of the estimated over 9,000 families of the town.

With the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the municipal government has trained 10 women-led associations from different barangays to produce bayongs.

“What triggered us to come up with this measure is due to the huge number of plastic materials being disposed of by our people on a daily basis. In fact, our daily waste of 12 cubic meters, at least 10 cubic meters are made of plastic,” Ador said in a phone interview, adding that this causes their landfill to be filled easily.

With this in mind, they have come up with the said measure and in the process, provide livelihood opportunities to his people, women especially, to produce bayong.

“It was easy for us to decide to come with bayong as an alternative to plastic use as its raw material, bariw, thrives in our town,” the town mayor said.

Ador also said that aside from making Oras free of plastic, it will result in making the town clean and in the process, attract tourists in particular to visit Oras.

During the launching last Saturday, the municipal government provided free bayong to the 5,000 families which it purchased from the women’s groups at P100 each.

But eventually, the locals will purchase the bayong from the accredited women’s groups to help sustain the livelihood from these women’s groups.

Meantime, Mayor Ador said that he and the rest of municipal officials are serious in making sure Oras will become a ‘zero plastic’ area in the future through this endeavor.

“We are happy that our people are supporting this measure, including the business establishment owners who are affected by this ordinance,” he said.

“Our goal is to reduce our plastic wastes from the current 10 cubic meters to five cubic meters and eventually to zero,” Ador added.

The measure provides a penalty to violators ranging from P500 for a first-time offense to P2,500 for a third-time offense, and if it involves a business establishment, cancellation of its business permit.

Lorna Ramas, a resident of the town from Barangay San Roque, expressed her total support on this measure of the municipal government.

“I hope this kind of measure has long been passed by our municipal government as we know that it will help preserve our environment,” the mother of five children said in a separate phone interview.