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‘No fly zone’ for balloons, sky lanterns passed on 2nd reading

The proposed ordinance to ban the flying of balloons and sky lantern on open air is one step closer to being a reality after it was approved on second reading on Wednesday.

Councilor Maria Belen Acosta, the chair of the council’s committee on public safety who authored the proposal, cited “public safety” in pushing the proposal.

“Public welfare is foremost in this proposed ordinance. Public safety and environmental protection are paramount in the city council’s policy directions,” she said.

Violators will be fined P3,000 for the first offense, P3,500 for the second offense, and P5,000 for the third offense.

Acosta clarified that the ordinance, once approved, will not completely ban balloons in the city.

“It is not a total ban. Only the release of flying balloons (in open air) is not allowed,” she said.

Flying of balloons during funerals is one of the acts prohibited in the ordinance.

The councilor pushed the said measure primarily for safety purpose.

“It may pose safety risks for low flying aircrafts, power lines, litter anywhere, fall into bodies of water and get mistaken as food by marine animals (that) may cause their death,” Acosta said referring to balloons.

“In the case of lighted sky lanterns, its open flame may also cause fire,” she added.

Acosta also mentioned the relevance of the proposed ordinance to the environment.

“Policy directions are going towards reduction of single use plastics and more efficient solid waste management,” she said.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) expressed its support for the said ordinance.

“We, from IDIS and also on behalf of the Sustainable Davao Movement, are really looking forward that this will be passed as an ordinance,” Ruel Kenneth Felices, IDIS Partnership Building Officer, said.
“Considering Davao City is surrounded by bodies of water, it is of great call to pass the policy to ensure a conducive environment for our wildlife and marine animals. The visual impact of the fallen, deflated balloons and lanterns, and the risk of harm to environment and animals which they pose are too obvious to be neglected,” Felices added.

Acosta also lauded the support of the event organizers.

“During the series of committee hearings that were held, they manifested their full support for the ordinance,” she said.

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