January 31, 2006 · Posted in: General

Battle of the billboards

THEY’RE big, bold, and not quite beautiful. They can also be a health and environmental hazard, but so far, no one is policing them. We’re talking of billboards, which have been mushrooming along Edsa and Metro Manila’s main thoroughfares, blocking the city’s natural skyline. 

No wonder the billboard boom has come under fire from various sectors. For environmentalists like Odette Alcantara, billboards infringe on public space: the open air, the landscape, things she feels belong to everyone, not just outdoor-media suppliers and advertising agencies. She also says, “They are traffic hazards. They supplant the road signs!”

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) can only agree as billboards have made it to its list of emerging road safety concerns for the year.  “They compete with traffic signs and cause obstruction on the roadway,” said Angelito Vergel de Dios, MMDA Traffic Operations Center executive director, in a recent interview. A helpless MMDA, however, has not been able to address the problem of huge billboards since the local governments are responsible for issuing permits to advertising agencies.

Advertisers’ turn to billboards is basically economic as they have become a more affordable medium compared to the other media (print, radio and TV), whose advertising rates have been skyrocketing. A 3,000-square-foot billboard on a major route like Edsa would cost about P200,000 per month. A full-color, full-page ad in a major daily newspaper would cost approximately P250,000 on a weekday, and P300,000 on weekends. A 30-second primetime slot on a major local channel, meanwhile, would run about P180,000.

Still, there are other issues regarding aesthetics, offensive content, and structural safety. This last, is the most crucial issue for legislators in light of recent accidents caused by billboards, including one that went crashing down on a cable wire of the Metro Rail Transit last year, disrupting railway operations for nearly eight hours.

Since most billboard legislation is based on the vague guidelines of the National Building Code, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has drafted Bill 1714 or the Billboard Blight Act to address this handicap.

Read on at pcij.org

20 Responses to Battle of the billboards



January 31st, 2006 at 9:42 pm

a restaurant in guadalupe, makati made the billboards their landmark…great for the owner, you ask me…

plying south expressway, i got used to viewing these billboards. sort of entertainment…distracting my sleepiness…

but i guess that’s all there is to it…a plain and simple DISTRACTION (very hazardous, at that!). especially when i used edsa going to guadalupe…what a blinding sight!

billboards…just a sight for sore eyes? you tell me…
ask the commuters then when the “falling billboard stalled mrt” http://www.inq7.net/met/2004/may/21/met_3-1.htm .



January 31st, 2006 at 10:00 pm

For lack of words, I can only come up with one befitting the mmda or whatever the name of that agency responsible for transportation regulations. Impotent. Granted, the LGU is responsible for issuing advertising permits, but if safety to the motoring public is jeopardize, the Transportation authority has the power to override or cancel such permit. Passing the buck is what everybody good at. It should have been established from the beginning, before one billboard rise up, all the guidelines and all rules pertaining to such form of advertising, not after all were up- obstructing the skyline, hazard to both motorists and pedestrians. Now, why do you need a national law pertaining to traffic rules? Sen. Defensor introducing the Bill? All you should do is for the MMDA (or agency responsible) to recommend or submit rules and enact them into law. Next time do it before the storm. Has nobody ever think of the future?



January 31st, 2006 at 10:43 pm

Billboards? To me more distracting and questionable are billboards that “sell” politicos..



February 1st, 2006 at 1:01 am

Outdoor billboard advertising would only be effective for seven (7) seconds! Unlike radio, you can deliver your ad campaign in 15, 30.45, or 60 seconds in radio ad..

Outdoor billboarders would claim, they have the clients’ money’s worth! no question, part of ethics.

However, in terms of reach, broadcast media has it! whether one accepts it or not. Radio can even reach the hinterlands, where there would be no conspicuous place for a billboard!

Billboards could only reach “supposed” clients by seven (7) seconds while driving edsa, and the questioned guadalupe, where billboarders compete for space!!!! for normal people, given the benefit of the doubt, masaya! marami nakikita! But for motorists? ligaw ang mata. Much more, baka ma-aksidente pa!

So, did the clusters of billboards along guadalupe helped their clients? of course, the accounts or the media buyers would say yes. How effective? please ask MMDA. How many motor accidents happened in the area that, advertisers or clients who approved of putting their billlboard along guadalupe would agree?

Even if Sen. Santiago would harp on scrapping outdoor advertising along edsa, there will still be other areas to clutter ads through billboards! Outdoor ads will be most effective during elections!

We are not privy to put outdoor advertising biz people out of business. Outdoor advertising is good, however, it was not as big as in the past, that would distort motorists’ road view? perhaps, they would say economics.

In the food business, when economy is bad, yes, you can still eat the same soul-searching food that you want. But on a smaller scale. When you used to get that food in big platter, expect your favorite dish in a “platito” when economy is bad.

Now, going back to outdoor, the reason why they would want a 150 x360 measurement, it’s because of wanting to be noticed. In outdoor, nowadays, I challenge billboarders, when you use 30 x 60, you would say that your campaign won’t work. That’s how they are thinking now. Sorry for the pros.

So, it becomes the motorists’ problem. ma-aksidente kayo dyan, wla sila pakialam, basta bayad ang space for one or two years!:)

Boils down to morality… Let the priests or any religious devotee, challenge it. Sana wag na si Mike Velarde, Ely Soriano or kung sino pa ang gusto dalhin ang buhay na kaluluwa sa langit, na sa akala nila, ay sila ang may karapatan! sa ingles pa, self-righteous people! or Not the militant groups, coz, they are in politics or system of gov’t (eklat), but lost it in politics.

Hay naku, it’s a long way of battle! lahat matatalino na ngayon. pero, sana, gamitin ang talino sa ikabubuti ng kabataan, huwag sana namang gamitin ang kabataan sa kausa na, kalalakihan at iiwan lang…


lokalokang matino

February 1st, 2006 at 1:11 am

Thats RAPE of the invironment, Imagine,, instead of greenery, blue skies, cloud formations, you see billboards of different sizes and forms.

This brings us again to bad governance, wrong priorities and mis-placed judgement.

Added to this, left and right, we see faces of incumbent politicians from the TRAPO-ist presidenta and to the kagawads. (I remember Imelda being piloried by her critics when she banned highbuildings in pine city Baguio.)

Its about time, national and local government should re-think their revenue generating scheme.

Please clear the horizon, tear those billboards, leave the ads to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV.



February 1st, 2006 at 1:14 am

oh, isa pa! it’s a misnomer when it was said that billboard is cheaper than the broadcast media! For media buyers, they know for a fact that broadcast media has the reach, where billboards cannot! Try putting a billboard somewhere where there is no traffic? or busy road? will they satisfy their client? Unlike the broadcast media, so long as one has a radio or a tv set, it will reach the boondocks!:) peace to my outdoor business colleague…



February 1st, 2006 at 1:17 am

God bless the Senator for the bill. And hope a billboard won’t come out with her advocating the bill or it would be ironic. I agree that billboards featuring politicians are distracting and questionable (and annoying too). There is no need to waste taxpayers money to advertise the fruits of their work. The projects are the tangible proofs themselves. Besides, the projects are not favors from the politicians- it is their job and obligation. With or without letting everyone know.



February 1st, 2006 at 1:20 am

Yes, I mentioned these “billboards” in my ‘things to do’ if I became President.

Thanks PCIJ for addressing this. Thus far, all of my visitors from out of town have made negative comments about these billboards. One even said, “Are these billboards a way to distract the population from the real problems of the country?”

It’s true, times are tough. Given what little choice we have everyday, most would rather look at celebrities up in the sky than a dirty kid inhaling the smog from post World War II jeeps and buses. These billboards seem to also take our eyes away from the crumbling and neglected architecture of the city–the lack of planning and apathy.

All I can really say, to be politically correct: Follow the procedures and due process of the law to take these billboards down as a step toward a “rebirth” of Manila.

However, knowing the above will never happen in my lifetime, I hope militant citizens spray-paint and vandalize these hideous billboards or even burn them down.



February 1st, 2006 at 1:23 am

Isa na lang… after the thematics of advertising (i.e. billboard, broadcast media) have been given due notice through this blog, I will now address the issue of the above-stated article. “battle of the billboards”. Alecks, is he? who wrote the article… I would say, he’s young, energetic fellow journalist who would, still, I believe, subscribe to facts and figures; objectivity and truth…



February 1st, 2006 at 1:36 am

Outdoor Advertising is no politics! Please, let’s not associate it to politics! It’s a battlefield where the pie, space, is getting thinner in Metro Manila. Why, Guadalupe, where you see a lot of humongous billboards?! Ask Binay, that’s where these billboarders get their permits to put one billboard up! Let’s be objective for once, please.



February 1st, 2006 at 1:45 am

Sorry guys, a button was pressed on me… because I’m in the industry, but not to protect, but to preserve…. the value of advertising, the truth in advertising where business thrives. No more place for “one night stands!”



February 1st, 2006 at 12:55 pm





February 1st, 2006 at 1:40 pm

PCIJ: Environmentalist Odette Alcantara said “I’m not against newspapers and TV shows. I’m against newspapers in the wrong place. I’m anti-space abuse.” For Alcantara, the boom in tabloids, magazines and newspapers pollutes the public space: the open air, the landscape, things she feels belong to everyone, not just media suppliers and advertising agencies. She also says, “Newsboys selling newspapers are traffic hazards. They block the road signs!” There are also issues regarding aesthetics, offensive content, and structural safety.”

(Ooops, yeah I replaced “billboards” with “Newspapers and TV Media” in the actual PCIJ article. So sue me for plagiarism. Ngek!)



February 1st, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Without a doubt the biggest advertisers in the whole Archipelago are Smart and Globe, who are about to roll out the hottest money making idea: 3G

The European Union made $100 billion auctioning of their 3G frequency space to eager telecommunications giants. Even Indonesia just made $500 million auctioning of a couple thousand Megahertz’s worth of electromagnetic spectrum.

Why are Smart and Globe getting it for free? And why isn’t Media talking it up? Ahem.

Cellphones are the leading cause of electromagnetic pollution of the atmosphere that belongs to everyone, not just Smart and Globe and the advertising agencies and newspapers and mass media that feeds off of them. Cellphones are proven traffic hazards. They cause destruction and death!” There are also issues regarding the cartelized high cost, aesthetics, offensive content, and and brain cancer safety.”

Manila and the Philippines are like one giant Microwave Soup because of the 20 million cellphones and thousands of cell sites and transceivers in operation. Whenever you make a voice call it’s like holding up a lil microwave oven to your ear and brain cells.

Oh you only text? Well, remember that even Marie Curie died of Cancer of the Hands 35 years after first handling radium, pretty little rocks that also made nice fluorescences in the dark.



February 2nd, 2006 at 3:46 am

As environmentalists like Odette Alcantara stares wide-eyed on the billboards in Guadalupe along polluted EDSA, she takes a couple of deep breaths and inhales the toxic fumes from the vehicles and in turn gets dizzy and plunges into the polluted Pasig River. Maybe, just maybe she might realize that she may just be looking at the wrong picture. Har, environmentalist daw o…



February 2nd, 2006 at 11:21 am

Di naman kasi puwedeng ihiwalay pa ang mga pulitiko sa outdoor advertising. Kasi ang mga pulitiko ay beneficiaries, o client, ng outdoor advertising…



February 2nd, 2006 at 1:31 pm

eyesore or not…hazardous or not…“politicos” or not…i’m inclined to believe they’re here to stay as long as economics of billboards is placed top priority. nonetheless, i’m against their proliferation.


anti-billboard advocates, aside from odette alcantara, are columnist RANDY DAVID, architect TOTI VILLALON, and writer TONY ABAYA.

…such a jungle out there…let’s hope tribesmen (anti-billboards) become aplenty.



February 2nd, 2006 at 6:11 pm

I just hope that media buyers of advertising agencies must read all comments herein expressed, so that they will re-assess their “buying” strategies not only confined to billboards!

For the information of frequent visitors here in this blog, after an advertising seminar was held recently, advertising agencies were able to convince their clients that billboards is in. It’s the “future” of advertising. So, there you go people, that explains the clutters of billboards.

Ad agencies have perennially sidetracked other forms of advertising like; Radio & print. Television ads complement billboards now.

Kapag radio spots na pag-uusapan, kadalasan sasabihin ng ahensya, walang budget nakalaan sa radyo, kaunting meron sa print,at todo-bigay sa billboard! Yan ngayon ang resulta na nakikita natin sa kalsada. Accident-prone, lalo na yung electronic media sa guadalupe, nakakasilaw sa sobrang liwanag sa gabi… marami nang mga naaksidente sa tulay ng guadalupe. Kasi nga, sympre, mga driver ng trucks, manunuod muna habang nagmamaneho…matter of seconds… Ka-blog!!!! bangga!!!



February 2nd, 2006 at 6:18 pm

I’m sure some will say, di na namin kasalanan kung may nababangga sa kapanunuod ng electronic ads namin! o, di effective pala… effective nga sa aksidente.

It’s just as simple as cause and effect. What’s the cause? distracting billboard while driving… what’s the effect, accidents!

Baka nga magbu-merang pa sa advertisers ang epekto ng ad and not to increase revenue. Baka sabihin pa ng mga drivers na naaksidente, kasalanan ng lintek na produktong nakita ko billboard eh…kaya ako naaksidente.:)



February 2nd, 2006 at 11:13 pm

Except for the incident that a billboard fell over and affected MRT, I personally never heard of such accident(s) that the driver actually stated that the cause was by staring at a billboard. Seriously, has anyone here heard of such? Puwede pa yung sa mga natisod o bumangga sa ibang tao o mga bagay because they were busy texting while walking sa sidewalk. Suspetsa ko lang eh me personal agenda lang yung mga umaangas o nakikidamay (kuno) sa issue.

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