Solon urges Congress to pass bill regulating the billboards industry

November 18, 2010 12:52 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 18 — Rep. Leopoldo “Pol” Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) on Thursday urged his colleagues in Congress to fast track the passage of a bill establishing a law that would ensure safeguards, protect free enterprise and assure government of revenues from the multi-billion billboards industry.

In a press briefing during the 2nd Philippine International Conference and Expo on Out-of-home media sponsored by the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) held at SMX Convention Center, Bataoil said House Bill 3159 would address the outdated laws that regulate the industry.

“This proposed act would set and clear the parameters and expectations for all industry players, including government regulatory bodies,” Bataoil said.

During the event, OAAP Chairman Jose M. Vale and President Edberto B. Acosta have expressed the group’s all out support for the bill saying “we have been praying of an honest-to-goodness industry-friendly and transparent law to guide the industry.”

OAAP Vice-President and convention chairman Normando R. de Leon underscored the importance of the bill saying the presence of officials from Asia Sign Association, an Asian-wide network of sign practitioners based in Thailand of which OAAP is a member, “added prestige to the legislative measure.”

“As the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) before his retirement, Rep. Bataoil certainly qualifies him to speak with certainty on the issue,” said Atty. Winthrop Bañez, executive director of the Outdoor Media Advisory Group (OMAG), OAAP’s advocacy arm.

Also during the convention, the delegates signed a manifesto urging the members of Congress to support the passage of the bill.

“This is a legitimate multi-billion peso industry, with a positive contribution to the economy by employing thousands of workers and generating allied businesses,” Bataoil said.

Bataoil said there is a pressing need to address the laws regulating the billboards industry “since most of it are scattered in our statute books.”

Bataoil cited the outdated Building Code of the Philippines of 1972, the National Building Code, the Philippine Electrical Code, the Code of Ethics for Advertising and Promotions, the Philippine Highway Act of 1953 and the National Structural Code of the Philippines of 1992.

“The bedlam in the present set-up lies in the absence of an exacting law on billboards. Every entities are imposing different rates of regulatory fees,” Bataoil said.

To be known as an “Act Prescribing Standards and Guidelines for the Outdoor Out-Of-Home Media Industry,” the bill seeks to regulate outdoor media.

The bill prohibits the construction of outdoor media in a place that obstructs the view of vehicular or pedestrian, traffic signs or prevent a clear and unobstructed view in approaching or merging traffic.

No part of the outdoor media shall go beyond the property on which it stand and no part of it shall be placed on private property or any proprietary property of the government.

The bill prohibits the construction of billboards above the roof if the building cannot accommodate the additional load of the structure being erected on top of it.

The bill provides further that the size of billboards shall not exceed 450 square meters and shall be able to withstand a wind load of 200 kilometers per hour. It shall not also exceed 40 meters in height.

All outdoor media, which are considered dangerous to human lives, shall be dismantled immediately upon the recommendation of the Office of the Building Official.

All display contents for outdoor media must conform to the standards set by the Advertising Board of the Philippines (ADBOARD) and the Advertising Standard Council (ASC).

Under the bill, the OAAP shall act as the recognized national organization of outdoor media operations and shall assist the concerned government agencies in the implementation of the proposed act.

Violator faces a fine of not more than ten times the value of the outdoor medium involved in the case. It also imposes a jail term of not more than five years to guilty parties.

Foreign nationals will be deported after payment of the fine and service of sentence. (PNA)

LDV/BAC/mec

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