By Blessing Angel Agliam
Affirming its commitment for a greener Ilocos Norte on its 201st founding anniversary, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) is implementing “eco guidelines” in the 8th Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals set on February 2, at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium.
The said guidelines encourage the competing local government units (LGUs) to minimize utilization of single-use plastics and to keep their designated preparation areas clean and waste-free. Violation of these guidelines will cost the LGU a one-point deduction from the final raw score of each judge.
“We are trying to make the festival more sustainable in terms of waste management. We incorporated the ‘eco guidelines,’ in the hope of lessening the trash we generate,” Provincial Tourism Officer Mr. Ianree B. Raquel shared.
With over 100,000 yearly spectators online and on ground, Tan-ok is the biggest annual gathering of Ilocanos in one event. Raquel further explained that they have been trying to minimize the volume of waste in the venue for the past seven years through the help of youth volunteers as well as national agencies like the Philippine National Police.
The INTO took inspiration from House Bill No. 8692 also known as the “Ban on Single-use Plastic Products,” which was sponsored by Representative Winston T. Castelo. The bill, which seeks to ban single-use products and to encourage manufacturers and consumers to use more sustainable and environmental-friendly products, is still pending in Congress.
Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba (AMB) and Senior Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc (M3) have also strengthened their commitment to preserve the environment. AMB prohibited the use of plastic utensils within the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Office while M3 is sponsoring an anti-plastic ordinance to drastically reduce single-use plastic in Ilocos Norte. – Blessing Angel Agliam, PGIN-CMO