Cebu News

Council rejects tree planting as marriage requirement

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
Council rejects tree planting as marriage requirement
A newly-wed couple joins a tree planting event dubbed as “Eterni-Tree: Grow a Tree so Mother Earth will Last till Eternity” jointly organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Archdiocese of Cebu in 2018. The Cebu City Council rejected a proposed measure requiring couple to plant a tree before they are issued a marriage license.

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Council last week turned down a proposed ordinance that supposedly requires couples tying the knot to plant trees as additional requirements before they could get a marriage license.

The council agreed with the committee on laws, ordinances and styling that said in a committee report that the proposed measure was “inconsistent” with the national law.

The ordinance supposedly requires marriage license applicants to plant two trees as additional requirement, in support of the campaign of the Cebu City Government to plant 3 million trees in three years.

As proposed, barangays are tasked to issue a certification of compliance while the Cebu City Agriculture Department should be the one to provide the seedlings.

In its committee report Wednesday last week, however, the committee on laws, ordinances and styling said such a requirement is not provided for under Executive Order No. 209, series of 1987, or the Family Code of the Philippines.

City Councilor Phillip Zafra, who read the committee report, said there is no provision in the Family Code that authorizes the prescription of additional requirements other than what were identified by the Code or under the Local Government Code of 1991.

“While there is no prohibition either, the exercise of the legislative power subject of the proposed ordinance must still find some legal basis in the Local Government Code. Although LGUs have the plenary power to legislate under the General Welfare Clause, the requisites for the valid exercise of delegated police power must be also met,” Zafra said.

“The subject or activity sought to be regulated is the application for a marriage license, which cannot be obtained unless applicants comply with the tree-planting requirement under the proposed ordinance. An application for a marriage license, however, is already regulated by the Family Code. Furthermore, tree planting is not germane to the application for a marriage license,” he added.

The committee report also said that the issuance of a marriage license, like that for requests for a “certificate of no marriage” and the pre-marriage orientation and counseling, is even among the frontline services streamlined under the Anti-Red Tape Act.

“This Committee finds that the proposed ordinance is inconsistent with Executive Order No. 209, or the Family Code of the Philippines, and Republic Act 9485 as amended, or the Anti-Red Tape Act, as amended,” Zafra said. — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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