End Graffiti Now! It’s Undesirable at Places in the City

End Graffiti Now! It’s Undesirable at Places in the City

Vol. XVIII No. 8 (Nov. 29 – Dec. 5,2014)

The graffiti in the City of Baguio is worsening. This as City Administrator Atty. Carlos Canilao has noted. “Our constituents do not realize that they neglected that in keeping the city clean, it’s not only about garbage collection but anti-graffiti on buildings and walls should likewise be implemented,” he said.

Presidential Decree No. 33 issued 20 October 1972 penalizes the printing, possession, distribution and circulation of leaflets, handbills and propaganda materials and the inscribing of graffiti to any natural or manmade surface on any city owned property or, without the permission of the owner or occupant, on any privately-owned property.
After decades of its inception on that date, Atty. Canilao first caught attention on its existence of order but it has not been implemented strictly and fully. “This can be implemented if we have political will. It is very much possible as we can coordinate with the CBAO, City engineering Department Office, CEPMO, among other concerned agencies,” he said.

He also added that for a truly clean and green Baguio City, the encompassing of anti-graffiti is a part of cleanliness. The anti-graffiti was first brought out of the City Council’s session way back in 2008. In an explanatory note under Ordinance Numbered 41 Series 2008, unauthorized markings, writings, etchings, drawings, paintings, or engravings amount to vandalism and public nuisance destructive of the rights and values of property owners as well as the entire community. Graffiti vandalism is often times offensive, transgressing public order, morals and policies affecting the young populace. It is prevalent and unless the City government of Baguio acts to remove graffiti from public and private property, acts of graffiti tend to remain. All properties, public or private, are targets of graffiti, and the entire neighborhood are affected because they become less desirable places in which to be,  all to the detriment of the City.

In 2012, an Administrative Order No. 038 series of 2012 was formulated under a volunteer group known as S.T.O.P.P (Stop Tagging Other People’s Property) under the stewardship of Mr. Charles Niederstadt, Sr., who having a significant experience in addressing graffiti problems in the USA, and is now residing in Baguio City expressed their intent to provide assistance to the City Government of Baguio in the implementation of the Code, in emulation of a system that realized astounding results. Under the City Ordinance No. 41-series 2008, the Hon. Mayor Domogan of Baguio authorized the volunteer group to identify the structure of a task force that shall include departments and offices concerned in the implementation together with other volunteer groups, and defined the functions and responsibilities of the same. “Mr. Charles group helped raised funds for money since quite an amount of money was needed for this project until now,” says Atty. Canilao.

In 2013, Adminsitrative Order No. 187 series 2013 was created anew known as the Anti-Graffiti Management Committee of Baguio City (AGMC). With the chairmanship of Mayor Domogan; co-chairmanship of Mr. Niederstadt; membership of the chairman, sp committee on human rights, justice, public protection, and safety, peace, and order; city administrator; abc president; educational sector; chamber of commerce representatives; and civic and religious group organizations representative have come up of general functions and responsibilities that would oversee the implementation of Ordinace No. 41, series 2008 also known as the Anti-graffiti code of Baguio City.
“Covering the same year in 2013, we have repainted walls that were covered with graffiti with the helped of NSTP students of the City’s Universities.  They even made bright alternative  idea by suggesting to us to not just erased but paint the walls with beautiful artistic paintings. Many volunteered but we needed more paints and brushes. Mayor Domogan then utilized the bulk of his Domogan Cup to Alay Kalinisan and to anti-graffiti endeavor” says Atty. Canilao. Now those volunteers are not only volunteers but they will be part of the job orders as employees. They will report to the office regularly, he adds.

The office of the City Administrator is recommending the concerned departments to allocate funds every year for anti-graffiti projects and not only for a more visible problem which is the garbage. “Some perpetrators of graffiti vandalism have been arrested by our police operatives and were brought to court. They were mostly teenagers who are brat and spoiled,” says Atty. Canilao.

Mr. Niederstadt told Atty. Canilao that graffiti is like a gangster that is internally organized and connected especially in the USA since figures and designs inscribed are the same. Perpetrators use graffiti as an expression of rebellion against elders and establishments. It’s a way for them to release, their feelings to gain popularity and notoriety. “As long as they are not detected, they are successful. They are night workers. Their graffiti reflects unity among violators all over the world, says Atty. Canilao.

Graffiti spreads with the use of social media as the violators’ maintenance of connection. For Atty. Canilao, it is his opinion that people who do graffiti has something to do with drug business.

“Barangays in Baguio city have been tasked to identify graffiti violators and make report to be submitted to the police. Tanods are cautioned to watch young boys who are still out during the night. Hardware store owners have to help in the implementation against graffiti,” says Atty. Canilao. Graffiti is a growing concern among barangays. The implementation of the anti-graffiti law is weak since we were not used to it as a priority. Baguio’s graffiti goes with its progress and with its spaces, he adds.

Ordinance Numbered 41 Series 2008 penalizes any person violating any provision of this ordinance to be punishable by: First offense- imprisonment of one to ten days or a fine of P1, 000, or both, in the discretion of the court; second offense-  imprisonment of 11-20 days or a fine of P3, 000, or both, in the discretion of the court; and subsequent offenses- imprisonment of 21-30 days or a fine of P5, 000, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Any person who is 18 years or older who shall give, trade, or otherwise provide to any person any spray paint used in actual application f graffiti or defacement of property shall suffer a penalty of fine of not less than P1, 000 but not more than P 2, 000 or imprisonment of not more than one month, in the discretion of the court.
Failure of the parents or legal guardian to make payment will result in the filing of lien on the parents’ or legal guardian’s property that includes the fine and administrative costs.  Upon nan application an finding of Being an indigent , the court may decline to order fines against the minor, parent, or guardian.

In lieu or as part of the penalties specified under this ordinance, minor or adult may be required to perform community service as prescribed by the court based on the following minimum requirements: 1. The minor shall perform the corresponding community service commensurate to the penalty as provided under Ordinance Numbered 30, series of 2003; 2. At least one parent or guardian of the minor shall be in attendance of fifty percent (50%) of the period assigned for community service; 3. At the entire period of community service shall be performed under the supervision of a community service provider approved by the Baguio City Director of the Philippine National Police; 4. Reasonable effort shall be made to assign the minor or adult to a type of community service that is reasonably expected to have the most rehabilitative effect on the minor or adult, including community service that involves graffiti removal.

“Arrested violators have been given the penalty and were advised to use their talent positively. Some of them are now volunteers in the march against Anti-graffiti. Also business owners involved in the sale of such paraphernalia in graffiti and building owners should be vigilant because they will be penalized likewise,” says Atty. Canilao./Ezequiel D. Banas-e, The Junction Newspaper