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Advertising war erupts over lucrative MRT-3 system

May 14, 2010, 3:26pm
From the Manila Bulletin http://mb.com.ph

Advertising in the MRT-3 system has become very lucrative that an advertising war has ensued between two agencies – Trackworks and Media Puzzle Inc.

This developed as outdoor ad agency Media Puzzle Inc. yesterday claimed it is the rightful exclusive advertising manager agent of Metro Rail Transit Development Corporation (MRT Devco), the owner of all rights and assets within all MRT 3 System.

This is contrary to the claims of Trackworks that it has exclusive rights to use and access advertising structures or billboards based on a contract they entered into with Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in 1998.

MRT Devco terminated Trackworks’ contract in September last year after its failure to pay about P367 million worth of obligations as of December 31, 2009.

In 1998, MRT Devco entered into an agreement with Trackworks as its concessionaire for the development and sale of advertising spaces and activities.

The contract was renewed until December 31, 2015, provided that Trackworks complies with all of the obligations stated in the agreement. However, Trackworks failed to pay said obligations.

Trackworks filed a complaint with the Pasig Regional Trial Court and asked for an injunction order for MRT Devco to cease from terminating Trackworks and from appointing another party as the new concessionaire.

However, in January 2010, Pasig RTC denied Trackworks’ requests for injunction as officers of Trackworks admitted during the court hearing that the company did owe MRT Devco.

According to the court ruling, the admission of Trackworks’ witnesses on default of payment and lack of contractual basis for relief from payment shows that the first two requisites for a preliminary injunction were absent.

The application of Trackworks for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was denied for lack of merit. Thus, the reliefs prayed for by Trackworks are likewise denied. Hence, there was no order or writ preventing MRT Devco from terminating or canceling or awarding the advertising rights to the public or any third party.

Furthermore, Trackworks continues to claim rights despite the court ruling, Trackworks is the one illegally benefitting from the situation and collecting advertising revenues that rightfully belong to MRT Devco.

On April 15, 2010, MRT Devco Chairman Robert John Sobrepeña confirmed that Media Puzzle, Inc. will now be the exclusive advertising manager of all advertising rights of MRT Devco, which include marketing and selling advertising assets; billing and collecting all advertising revenues from contracts with advertisers; maintaining the advertising assets in the working condition in which they are found, and monitoring and administering the installation/placement/removal of all advertising materials; ensuring timely roll up and roll down of tarpaulins during typhoons affecting the advertising assets, among others.

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