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House bill seeks to regulate Edsa billboard jungle

by Elaine R. Alanguilan, Manila Standard Today

A BILL in the House of Representatives seeks to regulate the P5-billion outdoor advertising industry to phase out the so-called outdated laws and regulate the sector, its sponsor said Thursday.

“[House Bill 3159] would set and clear the parameters and expectations for all industry players, including government regulatory bodies,” Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, a retired police general, said.

“This is a legitimate multi-billion-peso industry with a positive contribution to the economy by employing thousands of workers and generating allied businesses.”

Bataoil says it is necessary to amend the laws regulating the billboard industry “since most of it are scattered in our statute books.”

Winthrop Hawthorne Bañez, legal counsel of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines, says the industry is growing at 10 to 15 percent a year. It is now worth P5 billion to P6 billion and accounts for about 6 percent of the total advertising revenue.

“A law that would regulate the industry would ensure stability and encourage more players to go into outdoor advertising,” Bañez said.

He says a billboard ad can cost an advertiser as much as P1.2 million a month in prime locations such as the one fronting the San Carlos Seminary along Edsa in Guadalupe, Makati City.

Bataoil says the outdated advertising laws include the Building Code of the Philippines of 1972, the National Building Code, the Philippine Electrical Code, the Code of Ethics for Advertising and Promotions, the Philippine Highway Act of 1953, and the National Structural Code of the Philippines of 1992.

“The bedlam in the present set-up lies in the absence of an exacting law on billboards,” Bataoil said.

“Every entity is imposing different rates of regulatory fees.”

Bataoil says his bill, an “Act Prescribing Standards and Guidelines for the Outdoor Out-Of-Home Media Industry,” would merely regulate the structural soundness of outdoor ads, but their content would be vetted by the Advertising Board of the Philippines and the Advertising Standard Council.

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