THE Cebu City Council has approved a legislation that aims to provide a local source of food as well as create a greener space in the city.
The local lawmaking body approved on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, the “Urban Food Gardening Ordinance of Cebu City,” which is authored by Councilor Alvin Dizon.
The ordinance can help protect the city’s ecosystem and secure its food supplies, Dizon said.
For the implementation of the ordinance, a budget of P10 million must be appropriated annually.
The budget will be used to purchase basic agricultural inputs and materials like seeds, quality planting materials, organic fertilizers, garden soul and tools for food production. The other purposes include training, education, development, and reproduction of information education and communication materials.
The ordinance mandates the City Agriculture Department (CAD) and barangay officials to lead the promotion and development of urban food gardens.
The CAD, in coordination with the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), is tasked to provide seedlings, fertilizers and other services to city residents, as well as provide necessary support and assistance for sustainable gardening.
Under the ordinance, the CAD, the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the City Planning Office are tasked to conduct an inventory to City-owned vacant lots on which the City can utilize for gardening.
The CAD, City Legal Office, the City Environmental and Natural Resources Office and the Parks and Playgrounds Commission are tasked to formulate guidelines for the conversion of the spaces such as open spaces in subdivisions, settlement sites, vacant or idle private lots, and public open spaces into land for urban gardening.
Under Section 10 of the ordinance, it is prohibited for private subdivisions, homeowners’ associations, sitios and villages to ban or restrict the growing and maintenance of gardens.
The section says: “It shall be unlawful for private subdivisions, homeowners’ associations, sitios, and similar villages in Cebu City to ban or put undue restrictions on the growing and maintenance of the edible gardens as an accessory activity within private households so long as the activity does not affect the residential character of the neighborhood, and without prejudice to reasonable standards of neatness and appearance imposed by the homeowners’ association and the authorities.”
A person who violates the provisions of the ordinance will face a warning for first offense, P2,000 for second offense and P3,000 for third offense.
To encourage the public to participate in urban gardening, the ordinance establishes an annual search for model and innovative barangays and home gardens that employ best practices. Winners will receive cash incentives.
The participants will be encouraged to participate at the Farmers’ Week of the Cebu City Government to showcase their produce.
The ordinance will take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of local circulation. (JJL)