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Say goodbye to those giant billboards on EDSA

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This is an artist’ perspective of the required vertical gardens on billboard structures as embodied in the Metro Manila Outdoor Media Magna Carta which was signed today by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino and representatives of various outdoor advertising organizations to ensure public safety, orderliness, and uniformity of outdoor billboard structures. 1/6 or 30 percent of the total area of the billboard shall be allotted for a landscape or vertical garden as provided under the said Magna Carta. PHOTO FROM MMDA

MANILA, Philippines—The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and outdoor advertising organizations on Thursday signed the Metro Manila Outdoor Media Magna Carta that aims to standardize the size and appearance of billboards in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila next year.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the Magna Carta contains new guidelines in the construction, installation and display not just of billboards, but also of LED boards and other advertising signs along major and secondary roads and open spaces within the metropolis.

“This document is another milestone towards the achievement of MMDA’s vision of a safe, pleasant, and better Metro Manila,” Tolentino said.

Aside from Tolentino, present during the signing were officials from the outdoor advertising industry, such as the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA), Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As), Media Specialists Association of the Philippines (MSAP), Adboard, and Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP).

The agreement limits the size of all outdoor signs and structures to 216 square meters, inclusive of the space required for the landscape or vertical gardens.

It also said that 30 percent of the total area of the billboard shall be allotted for a landscape or vertical garden, and two full-grown sustainable trees shall be planted and maintained within the setback areas of billboard structures.

Ground signs and sign structures along EDSA, C-5, and Commonwealth Avenue, on the other hand, should have a minimum height of 24 meters and maximum of 36 meters from the ground.

The height limit for all other areas in Metro Manila shall be determined by the respective local government units.

“Darating na panahon na uniformed na lahat ang sizes ng billboard sa Metro Manila. Isang sukat. Isang size. . . tapos titibayan nila yung frames [and may] regular check-up [and] maintenance para hindi na maulit yung [may] bumagsak,” Tolentino said in an interview with reporters.

Outdoor media advertising collaterals should also not obstruct traffic signs and landscapes.

The billboard and LED-board ban along Roxas and Macapagal Boulevards shall remain in effect.

Covered by the new rules and regulations are all existing and proposed advertising signs, billboards, display signs, electrical signs, LED signs/boards, ground signs, roof signs, and sign structures along major thoroughfares, public roads, secondary roads, avenues, streets, roads, parks, and open spaces within Metro Manila.

According to the MMDA chief, the Magna Carta, which was finalized after almost one year, is doubly significant because it was crafted by the outdoor media industry stakeholders themselves, together with the MMDA.

As to existing regulated signs and billboards, the Magna Carta said owners are given nine months (from the approval of these rules and regulations by the Metro Manila Council) to comply with the stated rules.

Failure to do so may subject the structure to summary dismantling by the government, and appropriate changes will be filed against the owner/operator.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said advertising agencies that will violate the Magna Carta shall pay a fine computed at P100 per square foot of surface of the advertising material, while the non-compliant government signs shall be charged P25 per square foot.

The Metro Manila Outdoor Media Magna Carta shall take effect 15 days after publication in two newspapers of general circulation.

For her part, Belen Fernando, President of PANA said that this agreement will pave way for a “cleaner environment and a more organized Metro Manila.”

Fernando said she hopes the agreement will inspire other cities to do the same.


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