MMDA’s drive vs illegal billboards

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I write in full support of the efforts of MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino’s plan to strongly regulate oversized billboards along the major thoroughfares of the metropolis.

Contrary to what the Outdoor Media Advocacy Group Inc. (OMAG) is claiming, Tolentino did not arrogate upon himself legislative powers when the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority promulgated certain memorandum circulars regulating billboards. In case OMAG is not aware, the MMDA, as can be clearly gleaned from the circulars themselves,  is just implementing existing laws—notably, the National Building Code (NBC), pursuant to the delegation to the MMDA by the public works secretary of his power to administer and enforce the provisions of the NBC.

To repeat, the MMDA is not crafting any new law. It is merely enforcing an already existing law.  Since 1977, it is stated in the NBC: “No sign or signboard shall be constructed as to unduly obstruct the natural view of the landscape, distract or obstruct the view of the public as to constitute a traffic hazard, or otherwise defile, debase or offend aesthetic and cultural values and traditions.”

Let us not fault the MMDA, led by its hardworking chair, for implementing a law that has been in existence for three and a half decades. That the law has been flagrantly violated for so long is not an excuse for its continued violation. As they say, the Philippines already has enough laws. It is the implementation of the laws that is sorely lacking. And now that we have a strong-willed executive implementing the laws, we should fully support him. As with most legislation, it is ultimately the public welfare that will be enhanced by their proper implementation. By strictly adhering to the provisions of the NBC, we can be assured of a safe and beautiful metropolitan urban landscape.

Let us all support Tolentino in his drive to rid our thoroughfares of illegal billboards.

—MARIO A. ORETA,

56 Flamingo St.,

Greenmeadows, Quezon City

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