Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DPWH, outdoor advertising group to meet on proposed billboard ban

The Philippine Star

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials are set to meet with executives of outdoor advertising firms to discuss the government’s plan to ban billboards along major roads in the country.

DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said he expects the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) to present its position on the issue and recommend specific control mechanisms on the circular on billboards construction and regulation, which the department would soon be issuing.

"They requested for a meeting with me because, according to them, most violators of the law are apparently not members of their organization. They also informed me they continue to police their ranks," Ebdane told reporters in an interview.

The OAAP has reportedly expressed support for the plan of the DPWH to ban billboards within a 100-meter radius from the center of national roads and transmission lines.

"The OAAP welcomes all reasonable regulation and the common ground that balances all business, safety and environmental concerns. Let the legitimate and law-abiding advertising stakeholders together determine the standards of excellence and safety," the group said.

Ebdane said the DPWH is currently working on a circular for the implementation of new rules on putting up billboards on major and national roads, which was proposed by the department’s National Building Code Development Office following complaints from motorists.

The DPWH chief added the proposed circular, which is being reviewed by the department’s legal office, also involves the removal of all existing billboards within the identified boundary in six months.

"We’re still working on the circular. There are some provisions that have to be studied by the legal department, including the 100-meter radius provision which is not yet covered by law, but it is included in the recommended bill filed by Sen. Miriam Santiago," Ebdane explained.

He likewise revealed that he met with Santiago last week.

"I requested her to give us input so that offhand we can consider her bill, especially on provisions in the circular that can be recommended without passing through legislation," the DPWH chief said

The proposal to ban billboards was raised after it was found that they affect concentration of motorists and could jeopardize public safety, especially during rainy season. — Edu Punay

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