By Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian Saturday urged the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enforce stricter guidelines for billboards and outdoor advertising signs along major metropolitan thoroughfares pending the passage by Congress of a legislative measure on billboard regulation.
Gatchalian issued the call after the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) expressed concern over the presence of giant LED projector billboards along the roads that might distract drivers and cause road accidents.
As chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, Gatchalian said the MMDA should be more vigilant in enforcing the guidelines on billboards and outdoor advertising signs they implemented beginning in 2012.
He said metropolitan roads are now crowded with the increase in the number of giant billboards.
Gatchalian also renewed his call for the passage of Senate Bill 995 (The Billboard Regulation Act) which he filed in August 2016 to impose setback requirements and minimum distance between structures and limits the size of the display surface and height of billboard structures.
The bill also seeks to prohibit the obstruction of traffic signs and landscapes.
Moreover, it also designates billboard-free zones, including in areas of historical sites, tourist destinations, and parks.
Gatchalian has been campaigning for the regulation of billboards since he was a local chief executive and congressman. He has filed a similar measure during the 16th Congress.
“There is as definite need to restore order in our streets and in our properties and we can start by correcting mistakes spawned by the liberal interpretations of laws on buildings and structures as these apply to billboards,” he said.