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Council wants 11 illegal billboards rechecked

The Freeman
Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Cebu City Council yesterday directed the Office of the Building Official to recheck the status of at least 11 billboards that are allegedly illegally put up in different areas in the city.

The 11 billboards were reportedly put up without permits by outdoor advertisers that are not members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines- Cebu. The council has given OBO two weeks to submit a report.

Representatives from OAAP, OBO, the Visayan Electric Company and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration appeared before the council to clarify issues that arose following the onslaught of Typhoon Lando last week.

OAAP-Cebu president Mary Anne Solomon said they owned only three of the six billboards that were toppled down during the typhoon. She said even before the typhoon, they have already adjusted and reinforced the structures that hold their billboards.

Meanwhile, PAGASA-Mactan chief Oscar Tabada was placed on the hot seat, as Vice Mayor Michael Rama persistently queried why the weather bureau failed to issue an advanced weather advisory on Typhoon Lando, which hit Cebu two hours before its scheduled arrival based on the forecast.

Rama contended that PAGASA-Mactan could have already issued an advisory, as it could have estimated the speed by which the low pressure area was turning into a typhoon.

But Tabada explained that he even placed his neck on the line when he issued an unofficial weather advisory around 2 p.m. on November 19 because only the PAGASA central office in Manila can issue official weather forecasts.

He said the PAGASA satellite office in Mactan only serves as an observatory and would still have to forward its observations of irregularities in weather to the central office.

Tabada then turned the tables on the council by seeking financial support for a radar that PAGASA intends to purchase in order to put up a Regional Forecasting Center in the Visayas. Tabada said they have already bidded out the radar but PAGASA still lacks enough funds to purchase the equipment. - Joeberth M. Ocao/LPM

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