IT has taken a typhoon of Milenyo‘s fury to bring home the point that the huge billboards that have been mushrooming all over the metropolis indeed pose danger to people’s lives and safety.

Magallanes, photo by Isa LorenzoPacking 110 to 140-kph gusty winds, Milenyo gave the government a rude awakening as it swept through Metro Manila, tearing and knocking down billboards, as well as communication and power lines — the worst battering the capital has suffered since typhoon Rosing‘s rampage in November 1995.

Along the stretch of the South Luzon Expressway between Alabang in Muntinlupa and the Bicutan interchange alone, 25 billboards lay toppled, the Inquirer reported.

At least one person, a man who was inside his vehicle, was killed by a billboard felled by the strong winds. Another came crashing down onto a passenger bus. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Prior to this, billboards have already been causing accidents, including one that tumbled on a cable wire of the Metro Rail Transit last year that disrupted railway operations for nearly eight hours.

Buendia, photo by Isa LorenzoYet, until the order from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — made in the wake of Milenyo‘s destruction — for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to address the issue of their proliferation, no one has been policing billboards.

Both agencies have been saying that their hands are tied, the DPWH arguing that billboard owners are protected by law, and the MMDA pointing to the local governments, which are responsible for issuing permits to advertising agencies.

Last year, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed a bill — Senate Bill No. Bill 1714 or the Billboard Blight Act — to also address the lack of guidelines governing the putting up of advertising billboards. At present, most billboard legislation is based on the vague guidelines of the National Building Code.

Guadalupe, photo by Isa LorenzoIn i Report‘s November 2005 issue, the PCIJ pointed out how “big, bold, and not quite beautiful” billboards are becoming not only a health and environmental hazard, but also an ethical issue as they continue to block the city’s natural skyline. Environmentalists like Odette Alcantara even say that billboards are infringing public space: the open air, the landscape, things that she feels belong to everyone.

The report can be accessed here.

4 Responses to A rude awakening courtesy of ‘Milenyo’



September 30th, 2006 at 1:13 am

Thanks Alecks for addressing this issue again!!!!!

Well, lessons that we should learn from this calamity are as follows:

1. Billboards should be torn down immediately. If they continue to be erected, it’s up to the population to burn them down because the government is not doing shit.

2. Electric posts should be placed underground.

3. Manila is now a toilet bowl of pollution and will cost the country billions to flush. (Wouldn’t it be just and fair to confiscate the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies, et al post 1986 to pay for this mess rather than have them sit in their mansions retired enjoying their loot?)

4. God maybe giving us a hint that we’re a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah?

5. Since 1986, the Filipinos have allowed corruption to flourish as we remain Stupid, Gullible and Apathetic.

6. That we Filipinos act when it’s too late. That maybe we don’t have the foresight. That maybe the only solution we know of is a band-aid? That the common Filipinos allow the corrupt few to kill them. That the Death Penalty has been made illegal to maybe tell the Filipinos: Hey, if corruption is killing you, you can certainly kill them because the Death Penalty is illegal anyway.

We need a plague (a wrath of God) like Dengue or a deluge to kill depravity.



September 30th, 2006 at 5:21 am

Bayani Fernando has been clamoring for the dismantling of these billboards long before Milenyo but did the people from advertisng firms listen? Applying for a TRO is much more viable for these scums rather than considering the life of our fellow countryman. Only in the Philippines.


Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose » Blog Archive » Long march to freedom

September 30th, 2006 at 6:33 pm

[…] More dead tree photos from baratillo@cubao. The PCIJ blog focuses on the billboard issue. caffeine sparks asks why draining remains a problem in cities like Manila. […]



September 30th, 2006 at 8:41 pm

And where can you find billboards built that when they fall by whatever cause sure to hit someone driving along the highway or walking by. I have seen billboards and billboards, but most of them if not all are built in locations where if it falls down the only thing it will harmlessly hit is the ground. Or it is not in safe distance, not that gigantic to cause substantial damage. always thingking after the facts.

Also, whoever thought about planting trees, right in the middle of sidewalks? stupid, stupid. I love walking, but you have to share the road with the cars and all safety hazards, because the walkways are mostly obstructed by trees and if you miss them, excuse me.

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