Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Living With No Electricity

We have had no electricity for nearly a week courtesy of Typhoon Milenyo (International Codename Xangsane). Our electric connection was severed when our neighbor's tree fell over it when the eye passed over Metro Manila last Sept. 28. I was lucky I was at home that day, watching the wind lashing out from the safety of my upstairs bedroom. Others were not so lucky. There was this passenger cab driver whose Toyota FX was crushed when a billboard fell over it early that afternoon.

To wit: Giant billboards toppled by Milenyo on Thursday killed at least one person, damaged property, caused mammoth traffic jams and triggered an intense debate on whether outdoor advertising should be banned altogether.
Bayani Fernando, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), called for a halt on the construction of advertising structures until their owners had been made to account for the injuries and damage they caused last week.
“I am appealing to local government officials concerned, particularly building officials, to declare a moratorium on the putting up of new billboards until we have brought back sanity to Metro Manila’s skyline and victims of these fallen structures have been given justice,” said Fernando.

The efforts are being complemented in cities around the metropolis. In Makati City, the City Engineer’s Office even decided not to allow the rebuilding of collapsed billboards. In Mandaluyong City, the city council began working on a proposed ordinance to limit the sizes of billboards.

A proposal to ban billboards actually surfaces from time to time but this is usually silenced, mostly by the outdoor advertisers who claim a great loss of income if this ban comes true. Well, this time, a life has been sacrificed. I hope it will not be in vain.

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