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From ABS-CBN News : Outdoor advertisers urge gov't to pass billboard safety law

Outdoor advertisers urge gov't to pass billboard safety law

Posted at May 27 2008 12:40 AM | Updated as of May 27 2008 08:40 AM

A group of outdoor advertisers on Monday appealed to the government to speed up the enactment of a law that will govern the industry.

The Billboard Safety Initiative (BSI), an alliance of five of the country's biggest outdoor advertisers, declared their support for any initiative that would define safety standards of the P2 billion industry.

The group, which includes United Neon, Media Pool Inc., Summit Media, Outcomm, and Big Board Advertisers, added they are ready to work with legislators to formulate the said policies.

BSI spokesperson Oliver San Antonio, however, said they are not part of the Organization of Outdoor Advertising Associations of the Philippines (OAAP).

He said the BSI is prepared to comply with all government-approved regulations.

San Antonio said since the 14th Congress convened last July, Senate Bill 1714, which was filed in the 13th Congress by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, has not yet been refiled.

He added that not even the incident back in 2006, which involved a billboard along EDSA that was brought down by typhoon Milenyo, has pushed the House of Representatives into refiling a counterpart bill to Santiago's initiative.

"What we are practicing now is self-regulation. We want a new Senate or House bill filed, but with certain amendments especially as to size," San Antonio said.

He added the billboards belonging to the group are structurally-sound and are compliant with latest safety standards, and that they have no control over the content of the ads the billboards contain, as stated in current rules.

San Antonio said the group has already met with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

"We have complied with the DPWH's three stringent requirements: permits from LGUs (local government units) that examine the technical specifications; insurance on P100,000 per billboard; and the rigid specification, like three to six meters away from a power installation," he said.

He added all of the group's structures have been built in accordance with the National Building Code.

Meanwhile, in response to criticisms that billboards are safety hazards, San Antonio said pink and concrete fences put up by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have proven more dangerous after causing accidents on several occasions.

He added the MMDA and the DPWH apparently abused their police powers in tearing down billboards, although they have adhered to all law-mandated requirements.