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9 p.m. lights out set for billboards
By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:59:00 02/10/2009

Filed Under: Advertising, Global Warming, Environmental Issues

MANILA, Philippines—The fiery glow of Metro billboards won't last all night anymore starting on February 25.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has ordered all outdoor advertisers to turn off the lights on their billboards by 9 p.m.

The measure, contained in Executive Order 774, is aimed at conserving energy, according to National Building Code Development Office Executive Director Emmanuel Cuntapay.

Cuntapay said the DPWH will meet with outdoor advertisers this week to discuss the order's implementation.

"If they have violent reactions, then we will temper it because this has something to do with climate change. This concerns all of us so it is high time that we put a stop to the installation of spotlights since these have carbon effects on our atmosphere," he said.

Cuntapay said the order, released last December, was reasonable because there are fewer people and traffic on major avenues late at night.

He added that the order also covers billboards at malls and shopping complexes.

"By 9 or 10 p.m., there are no more people (on the roads) so it's a waste of energy. We will teach them a lesson on how to conserve energy," he said.

The DPWH official said turning off the high-wattage lights by 9 p.m. will cut down the billboards' energy consumption by 70 percent.

He noted that ad companies usually turn on the lights on their billboards at around 6 p.m. and leave it on until daybreak.

"There will be big savings not only in terms of money but also in terms of health. We will all benefit from this, " he said.

"Just imagine if their roughly 11 hours of energy consumption will be reduced to three hours a night," he added.

Billboard owners who refuse to follow the directive will have their outdoor ads taken down, according to the order.

Those who want to be excepted from the order will have to pay additional charges to the government, Cuntapay said.

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