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13 February 2011 08:17:43 AM
Writer: Lorelei V. Castillo, MRS-PRIB

A lawmaker wants to ban the installation or display of billboards with obscene, indecent and immoral contents or graphics.

Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City), principal author of House Bill 1842, is also pushing for the regulation of billboards and other similar structures to ensure the safety of the people and properties and pushes for stiffer penalties for violations committed by billboard owners or operators.

The proposed Billboard Regulation Act will regulate the construction, installation and maintenance of billboards and to protect the welfare and safety of the citizenry.

"The proliferation of billboards cluttering our cityscape, and the inherent and acquired danger it poses to life and safety remains to be a relevant and urgent issue we must address the soonest," Teodoro said.

"Notwithstanding the right of the public to information and the right of billboard operators to enter into a contract, still the billboard industry must be regulated in view of the more compelling duty of the State to safeguard life, health, property and public welfare consistent with the principles of environmental management and control," Teodoro said.

Teodoro said the country had experienced the perilous effects of giant billboards standing against typhoon winds almost a year now resulting in numerous deaths.

"This can be prevented from happening again by enacting a more effective and appropriate police power regulation with stiffer penalties," Teodoro said.

Under the measure, no billboards and signs shall be erected that might confuse or obstruct the view of any official traffic sign signal or device; obstruct the natural view of the landscape, distract or obstruct the view of the public as to constitute a traffic hazard or defile, debase or offend the aesthetic and cultural values and traditions of the Filipino people.

The bill provides to prohibit the installation of billboards and signs on any structure or portion found within the roads, right-of-ways, legal easements and the like; using reflective materials that can redirect light towards adjacent buildings and structures, neither shall it be made with oscillating and fluctuating light that may produce unwanted glare and if the construction interferes with the free use of any fire escape, exit or standpipe.

Teodoro said the proposed measure aims to provide permit and annual inspection fees to be issued by the authorized local government unit (LGU) official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) after payment of required fees.

The bill imposes a fine of P100,000 or imprisonment of a minimum of six months but not to exceed one year for any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity found to have violated the proposed act.

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