City Council acknowledges concerns in public hearing on three proposed ordinances: Children Code, Cockfighting and Paleng-QR Ph Program

THE 5th Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) successfully conducted a public hearing last February 15, 2024 at Enan Chiong Activity Center (ECAC) in Barangay East Poblacion on three proposed ordinances, titled:

  • Adopting and Implementing the Paleng-QR Ph Plus Program in the City of Naga, Cebu, and for Other Purposes Thereof.
  • The Revised Children’s Welfare Code of the City of Naga, Cebu; Providing for the Establishment; and
  • Operation and Maintenance of Cockpits, Regulation of Cockfighting and Imposition of Fees in the City of Naga, Cebu.

Distinguished members of the City Council, led by Vice Mayor Virgilio “Jing-Jing” M. Chiong, sufficiently addressed the concerns raised by the attendees with the assistance of three resource speakers, Ms. Ruth Rowena B. Alensonorin, city public information and community relations officer, and Lawyers Victor A. Maambong and Mrk Ericson L. Navales, both city legal consultants.

Prior to the forum proper, City Councilor Carmelino “Junjie” N. Cruz, Jr. gave an overview about the stages in legislative process, consisting of the mandatory three readings rule, before a proposed measure is enacted into a local ordinance.

Cruz, the SP majority floor leader, stressed that a public hearing is part of the required legislative steps in aid of legislation, wherein concerned sectors are given the opportunity to raise questions, make comments, suggestions and clarifications before an ordinance is approved on second and third reading, respectively.

For his part, Vice Mayor Chiong encouraged the attendees, composed of market stallholders, barangay leaders, local social workers and members of the academe, to speak their mind, as their suggestions would greatly help in improving the provisions of the three proposed measures.

Aided with a power point presentation, Ms. Alensonorin first presented the proposed Paleng-QR PH ordinance, which is mandated under Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01, Series of 2022 of the Department of Interior and Local Government and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The joint DILG-BSP memorandum strongly encourages all the local government units (LGUs) nationwide to adopt this proposed measure.

It was noted that only a few LGUs have joined the Paleng-QR Ph Plus with Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu became only the fifth city to launch the program in 2023, after the cities of Baguio, Davao, Tagbilaran and Naga in Camarines Sur, Bicol Region.

Ms. Alensonorin cited the importance for the City of Naga to embrace the program since it has been considered one of the fast-rising LGUs in Cebu, and is striving to become a smart city and financially inclusive.

Once the Paleng-QR Ph Plus Program is fully implemented, it would enable public markets, transport terminals and commercial establishments to accept digital payments for faster and easier transactions.

Most of the participants have shown interest in availing of the program, that one market stallholder, a young businesswoman, revealed that she had already accepted digital payments of goods via GCash or other mobile payment applications.

Meanwhile, Atty. Navales extensively discussed the enactment of a new Children’s Welfare Code.

The city’s existing children code was approved in 2017 yet, and since then or for the past six years, it has not been updated or revisited to become more applicable to the present setting.

The proposal, which is considered the city’s most comprehensive local ordinance with a total of 118 Sections, drew several clarificatory questions and suggestions from the participants.

Pursuant to the Child and Youth Welfare Code of the Philippines, the local children code contains sections about the children’s rights, adoption, health, juvenile justice, education, and protection from exploitation, parental authority and role of teachers and business establishments.

The proposed Code likewise enumerates various community-based social services, including diversion programs, aimed at promoting the physical, mental and social well-being of children with the City Social Welfare and Development Office at the forefront.

In gist, Atty. Navales said the proposed measure reflects the City Government’s sincere commitment to promote the protection, welfare and holistic development of the Nagahanon children and youth.

Lastly, Atty. Maambong, a former Cebu Provincial Board Member, extensively answered the queries of the attendees over the proposed enactment of an ordinance establishing the regulation, operation and maintenance of cockpits in the city.

The passage of this ordinance is in preparation for the possible establishment of a second licensed cockpit in the city, which already has a population of 133,184 people according to 2020 census.

Section 5 (b) of Presidential Decree 449, otherwise known as the Cockfighting Law of 1974 provides that only one cockpit shall be allowed in each city or municipality, except in cities or municipalities with a population of over one hundred thousand, two cockpits may be established, maintained and operated.”

Apart from this, the proposed ordinance contains fees for regular and special cockfighting, the payment of business permits for the management and key players in the arena, and the days of holding the cockfights at a licensed cockpit pursuant to PD 449.

The public hearing formally ended with a closing message of City Councilor Clint Isidro A. Chiong, the City Council presiding officer pro tempore, who sincerely thanked all the attendees for allotting their time to participate in the forum. GC