PUV operators must pay fee to carry poll ads
As if the splashy flyers and posters posted ubiquitously along roads weren’t enough, campaign ads could now be displayed on buses, taxis and jeepneys in the run-up to the May elections.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced the arrangement on Tuesday, a week after the start of the campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups.
Drivers and operators who wish to place such ads, however, must still go through an application process and pay a fee of up to P10,000 depending on the type of public utility vehicle (PUV) and number of units, the LTFRB said in a statement.
The requirements include a filing fee of P600 for the first two units and P200 per succeeding unit, P10,000 for the first five bus units, P7,500 for the first five taxis, and P5,000 for other PUVs.
Campaign materials should not exceed the 61-by-91-centimeter (2-by-3 feet) dimension mandated under Resolution No. 10049 of the Commission on Elections, or the implementing rules and regulations of the Fair Elections Act.
Drivers and operators must also ensure that the advertisements conform with standards of public safety, morality and decency.
Campaign ads on PUVs have been allowed by the LTFRB since 2015 under Memorandum Circular No. 2015-29.
Grab vehicles not allowed
This followed the Supreme Court decision on the case of 1-Utak vs Comelec, which ruled that prohibiting ads “constituted a clear prior restraint on the right to free expression of the owners of PUVs and transport terminals.”
LTFRB media relations officer Jay Sabale clarified, however, that transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Grab were not among operators allowed to run campaign ads.
In 2015, the then Department of Transportation and Communications created the TNVS denomination to allow privately owned cars to operate as PUVs under app-based platforms like Uber and Grab.
Sabale said previous memorandum circulars governing campaign materials on PUVs had yet to be amended to include TNVS.
Grab spokesperson Leo Gonzales earlier said the company had prohibited its drivers’ vehicles from displaying political ads.
“Grab is a nonpartisan company and does not in any way support this form of political promotion,” Gonzales said.
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