Published on page A12 of the November 6, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways will hold on Nov. 8 a public hearing on the proposed regulations governing billboards that it wants implemented to ensure that outdoor advertising structures put up in the future would pose minimal or no risk to public safety and property.
The hearing to be held at the AFP Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo would give stakeholders the chance to air their concerns or provide alternatives to the DPWH’s proposed regulations, according to Director Emmanuel Cuntapay of the National Building Code Development Office.
“The stakeholders could give us suggestions or air their objections to our proposals, but they would have to convince us to accept these through their explanations. Our main concern at the department is public safety,” Cuntapay said.
The DPWH has been tasked by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dismantle billboards considered hazardous, those built on the road right-of-way, those without permits and violate the National Building Code.
The presidential directive was issued after several billboards collapsed at the height of Typhoon “Milenyo,” killing one motorist.
The incident prompted calls from various sectors for the strict regulation of billboards.
Among the proposed guidelines is on the maximum size of outdoor advertisements.
Cuntapay said he would propose a maximum size of 20 square meters, noting that billboards that were too big obstructed the views of the metropolis and posed a risk to the public’s safety because of the damage they could cause should they collapse.
Also to be discussed is the proposal of Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to require billboard owners to get a permit from DPWH district engineers before any building or sign permit for their proposed structures along national roads would be issued at the local government level.
The involvement of the DPWH in the issuance of permits was suggested to ensure that plans for structures and signs did not violate the National Building Code, the road right-of-way, the zoning regulations and other such rules.
The new rules over billboards that the DPWH is proposing will be included in the National Building Code’s implementing rules and regulations.
Cuntapay said among those expected to attend the public hearing are members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) and other advertisers.
The OAAP earlier called on the government to involve them in the formulation of the guidelines on billboards.