A Manifesto: Environmentalists urge ban vs toxics during Peñafrancia festivities

On September 8, 20222, toxic and wastes watchdog group, BAN Toxics headed by their executive director, Ray Sah Juan highlighted the need for proper waste reduction and sound waste management during the celebration of the Peñafrancia Fiesta in Naga City.


The call for a clean and green Peñafrancia Fiesta was made because of the massive turnout of garbage during the festivities, with estimates reaching 250 tons of waste produced each day, a stark contrast to the usual 95 tons daily trash yield.


The Peñafrancia Fiesta Traslacion Procession is bound to happen on Friday, September 9, 2022, followed by a series of parades, exhibitions, and competitions, before ending the celebration with a Fluvial Procession in the Bicol River on September 17, 2022. The theme of the festival for this year is “Listen to the voice of creation.”


Naga City’s response to the call for waste reduction and management during the festival is the passing of SP Resolution No. 2022-0940, or “A Resolution Promoting Environmental Responsibility in the Celebration of the 2022 Peñafrancia Fiesta by Reinforcing Waste Reduction Measures and Urging the Collaborative Commitment of the City Government of Naga, the Archdiocese of Caceres, Business Sector, Academe and Civil Society Groups in the City of Naga.”


While BAN Toxics welcomes the SP Resolution, the group also urges local authorities, participating organizations, government agencies, and the general public to use and promote reusable alternatives and reduce single-use plastics and plastic packaging not only during the festival, but all year round. The organization also suggests the strict implementation of the waste reduction resolution to ensure its effectiveness.


With waste from the Peñafrancia Fiesta being one of the largest contributors to Naga City's yearly garbage collection, the advocacy aims to strengthen the existing city policy by combining policy and awareness promotion while simultaneously enforcing waste reduction and management strategies during the festival season.


BAN Toxics also urges food establishments in Naga City to make the switch to environment-friendly packaging such as reusable or compostable materials and avoid the use of disposable and single-use utensils. Festival tourists and parishioners can also help the call by bringing their own reusable utensils, tumblers, and eco bags.


“The reduction of waste, especially single-use plastics, is imperative in the fight against pollution and climate change. The switch to reusable alternatives is one of the steps we can take to protect our environment, and our response to the theme of the celebration of 2022 Peñafrancia ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’ that mother earth cries out and implores us to put an end to our abuses and to her destructions” said Reynaldo San Juan Jr., executive director of BAN Toxics.