Outdoor advertisers asks MMDA to reconsider the proposed uniform size for billboards

January 23, 2012 10:43 pm 

MANILA, Jan 23 — The Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to reconsider its proposed uniform size for billboards along major thoroughfares.

It said the size requirement the agency wants to enforce is too small for advertising purposes.

OAAP Chairman Jose Valle said the agency is proposing the uniform size of new and existing billboards be 40 x 60 feet (225 square meters), not the 20 x 40 feet (80-100 square meters) the MMDA is suggesting.

“We firmly believe the billboard size (area) of 80-100 square meters is too small for the advertisers to consider. It is possible that they will shift to other forms of media and because of this most outdoor companies will close shop,” Vale said in a letter to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

The OAAP said it is negotiating with Tolentino for a middle ground where both sides could meet.

The uniform billboard size is part of MMDA’s new guidelines on billboards and other advertising signs the agency will be implementing.

The guidelines are intended to regulate the proliferation of illegal and over-sized billboards along Edsa and other major roads in Metro Manila.

“To be an effective medium of communication and information dissemination, OAAP agrees to a maximum size of 225 square meters. Anything below may render the medium ineffective as a means of communication,” Vale said.

On the other hand, anything above 225 square meters “may be too large, per industry standards, both from a safety and aesthetic point of view”, Vale conceded.

He assured the MMDA the OAAP will continue to work closely with the agency.

“We want to extend our hands of cooperation to once and for all address the billboard problems in Metro Manila and break the impasse between OAAP and MMDA,” the OAAP official added.

The MMDA has announced it will soon be dismantling billboards that violate the provisions of the National Building Code, especially those found to have no building permit from the local government units concerned.

Last year, Tolentino launched “Operation Roll Down, Baby” that targeted over-sized billboards and those that had obscene visual contents, touching off a bitter legal battle with OAAP.

OAAP managed to get a 20-day restraining order from a Makati City Court.

But it failed to get a writ of preliminary injunction that would have permanently shelved the MMDA’s campaign against billboards.

Vale said their organization’s position on the issue remains the same: “strict but reasonable regulation” of outdoor advertising industry in the country.

Earlier, Tolentino expressed confidence MMDA will face fewer lawsuits this year from parties who might by affected by its programs.

Tolentino said the ruling, penned by Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 132 Judge Rommel Baybay dismissing the petition of OAAP, is a good start for the agency this year.

Last year, the agency was slapped with injunctions, first by the Mandaluyong City RTC which sided with the petition against the implementation of the anti-smoking crackdown on open public places.

It was followed by another order issued by Makati City RTC Branch 133 Judge Elpidio Calis enjoining the MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways from implementing its crackdown on gigantic billboards on major and secondary thoroughfares in Metro Manila based on the petition raised by OAAP.

Stung by that order, the MMDA asked Calis to inhibit himself from hearing the case, which he did. The case was then raffled off to the sala of Judge Baybay.

At the same time, Tolentino said they are ready to implement the controversial guidelines regulating billboards and other advertising structures that cluttered the metropolis’ skyline now that they have gotten the nod from the court.

But he added the agency would still consult with the outdoor advertisers group before they would implement the new guidelines. (PNA)

hbc/CLTC

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