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posted Aug 10, 2009, 12:33 AM by Barangay Central   [ updated May 7, 2014, 10:48 PM by Central Barangay ]
They may be ordinary middle – aged women but they display authority with their green vest, orange shirt and denim pants while inspecting every nook of this city for violators of the “No Smoking,” “No Littering” and “No Spitting” ordinances. The women, all 24 of them, the youngest at 36 and the oldest at 60 are members of the “Kalinisan Brigade” who work in two shifts, the first from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the second from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening. City marshals take charge during the night.

Asked why City Mayor Jose Enrique S. Garcia III chose them, the matrons said: “Dahil nga babae kami na medyo may edad na ngunit may magandang hangarin at maayos ang aming approach, medyo mahihiya ang kalalakihang naninigarilyo, ang nagkakalat at dumudura kung saan – saan.”

They said that the city has become cleaner with the passage of the ordinance prohibiting littering on roads, rivers, parks and plaza anywhere in Balanga. “Kahit palito lang ng posporo o maliliit na papel ng kendi, ipinagbabawal na itapon kung saan – saan,” the women said.

Violators are slapped with a P100 fine or two hours of community service for the first offense, the second offense with P300 or community service for five hours; and the third offense, with P500 or community service for eight hours.

On the ordinance strictly regulating smoking in public places, business establishments and while riding in public utility vehicles in the City of Balanga, the women said there were many violators in the initial enforcement stages. “Marami kaming nahuhuli noong una pero ngayon paunti –unti na lamang dahil natatakot marahil silang mamultahan at natuto na rin silang pumunta sa mga smorking areas,” the women said.
Aside from billboards, many “No Smoking” signs are posted on establishments by the roadside in the commercial district. The offenders are fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second, P1,500 for the third and P3,000 for the succeeding offenses.

But as perennial offenders get to know the price they have to pay for such offenses, so does these gentle matrons in green vests who always remind people that discipline is vital to keep Balanga City clean and green.

Ernie B. Esconde