Drilon: Minimize commercial billboards in all airport terminals
Senate President Franklin Drilon wants the government to minimize, if not totally ban, the placement of commercial billboards in all airport terminals in the country, noting that even “political” billboards were allowed inside the terminals.
“You know, our terminals look like Edsa (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) with all the billboards all over the place. Why is that?” Drilon asked William Hotchkiss III, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) during the Senate finance subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Transportation and Communications on Thursday.
“How much income and where does that income go? How much income do we derive out of those ads and where does it go?” the Senate leader further asked.
Responding to Drilon’s queries, Hotchkiss said the income that the CAAP get from the billboards went to the improvement of the terminals. He later told the committee that their concessionaire and rent income in 2014 reached P101.28 million and estimated to grow to P102 million in 2015.
But the Senate leader pressed on the issue and asked the CAAP who authorized the placement of all these billboards in the terminals.
“Because I tell you, I have been going around the country, wala pa po akong nakikitang walang terminal na hindi po kamukha ng Edsa dahilan po puro billboards ang nakikita natin (I haven’t seen a terminal that does not look like Edsa because all I could see are billboards),” he said.
“Why is there such policy? Kulang ba ang pera natin para maghanap tayo ng paraan para magkaroon tayo muli ng additional income? (Are our funds not enough for us to seek ways to earn additional income?)”
Hotchkiss said there was no such policy but it was already the practice being done in the terminals when he assumed his post.
However, his answer did not sit well with Drilon, saying that Hotchkiss could not use this as an excuse, since the rentals of ads were renewable.
“Huwag mong sabihin na inabutan kasi renewable naman yan e. Hindi naman yan perpetual ang lease (Don’t say that is the practice when you assumed your post because that is renewable. The lease is not perpetual.),” said the Senate leader.
When Drilon further pressed on the issue, Hotchkiss said that that they needed the billboards for “tourism purposes.”
“But for the commercial applications, we are rationalizing this right now your honor and definitely we’d like to have advice on this,” the CAAP chief said.
Responding to Hotchkiss’ statement, Drilon suggested to minimize, if not totally ban, the commercial billboards in all airport terminals.
“You know, again would you agree with me that we should minimize if not totally ban these commercial billboards because they do not add to tourism? Come on, wala namang pakialam ang turismo dun e (Tourism has nothing to do with that),”said Drilon.
“I completely agree that we minimize or eradicate it, minimize probably,” Hotchkiss said.
Drilon noted that in the last election, he even saw political billboards inside the terminals.
“You have so many billbaords. Tayo lang e, sa ibang bansa wala naman akong nakikitang umaapaw sa terminal e (It’s only us, because in other countries I don’t see [billboards] overwhelming the terminal). And it’s ugly. I must tell you this, it’s ugly that you have commercial billboards all over the place…” he further said. Maila Ager/RAM
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