20 August 2009

SCADC consults building, zonal officers on SCTEX billboards

A business with no sign is a sign of no business.

For the development stakeholders of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), there is no better sign that they mean serious business than the panoramic view of the mountains, rivers and the countryside that they are seeking to preserve.

In keeping with its mandate to oversee and direct policy development, the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC) met with building and zoning officials of all the local government units along the expressway corridor for a consultation on the drafting of Additional Rules and Regulations (ARR) on Signs and Signboard Structures.

As presented by Director Teresito Tiotuyco of the SCADC Directorate for Utilities and Infrastructure, the proposed additional rules and regulations are further amplifications of Rule XX of Presidential Decree 1096, also known as the National Building Code of the Philippines, and Section 5 of Administrative Order No. 160. Specific provisions have been inserted to address the particular need to preserve the SCTEX panorama along the “view corridor,” that Clark-to-Subic segment that has been identified as most scenic by stakeholders.

The objective of the addenda is to keep the most scenic views of the expressway free from any advertising structure or signage, such as those currently found along the major highways of the country, more notably, EDSA. This would afford people the opportunity to behold nature’s beauty and rustic landscapes while travelling in comfort and safety. At the same time, it will be synchronized with the long term goal of transforming the corridor into a mega logistics hub that is competitively at par with the best in the Asia Pacific region.

However, locations will be identified where service providers can put up signs and structures according to specifications detailed in the ARR. Engr. Tiotuyco observed that in certain places, billboards may even help add to landscape aesthetics, and provide illumination as well for night drivers.

Aesthetics is not the only subject considered in the ARR. Mr. Audey Orleans of the Ads Standards Council gave an overview of their vetting process in approving advertising content. He said that community standards, discretion, truthfulness of claims and even size are taken into account for every advertisement submitted to them. He noted that giant billboards are of particular concern, because their size tends to amplify dimensions of images.

Commenting on the proposed additions, Director Emmanuel Cuntapay of the National Building Code Development Office stated that the SCADC initiative has moved the Department of Public Works and Highways to fast-track its move to formulate its Implementing Rules and Regulations covering billboards and signs along expressways and other similar thoroughfares. He also enjoined the officials to be always on the watch for violations of existing laws and regulations.

For its pro-active resolution totally prohibiting any construction or posting of advertising structure, the Sangguniang Bayan of Floridablanca was praised by resource speakers and attendees. Floridablanca lies within the “view corridor,” and boasts of the picturesque Palacol River.

SCADC is planning more future consultations as more issues are raised and consensus is built. According to Arch. Armando Alli, land utilization consultant, “this is an opportunity to plan the future with foresight. Having learned from our own sad experiences, and from the benchmarks set by other countries, we hope that the SCAD Corridor shall become a showcase of the Filipino’s capability to be the best.” (SCADC)

Photo Caption : Director Emmanuel Cuntapay of the National Building Code Development Office stresses a point during the SCADC Consultation Meeting on Signs and Signboard Structures held at the Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga last August 12, 2009.