Lay off my posters, Bayani tells DPWH

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:38:00 08/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines – Don’t you dare touch my posters.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando gave this warning yesterday to the Department of Public Works and Highways, which has threatened to tear down his posters around the metropolis.

Unlike commercial billboards, the posters bearing his photo do not imperil lives and property, Fernando said in a statement.

“They shouldn’t do that,” he said of the DPWH’s threat to remove the posters. “Unlike other billboards, they don’t pose danger to lives and property.”

Premature campaigning

“They’re part of an intensified information and educational campaign of the MMDA to instill discipline among residents and restore order in the metropolis,” he said.

The tarpaulin posters carry various messages with similar themes. One shows an unsmiling Fernando, in a barong Tagalog and with arms folded across his chest, with the slogan: “Kaayusan: Metro Guwapo, Tao Ganado, Produktibo, Kahirapan Naiibsan.”

Others urge the public to beautify the city landscape.

Fernando has made known his desire to run for president in 2010. Critics have lambasted him for putting up the posters as part of his early campaigning for the elections but he dismissed the protests as baseless.

Remove billboards, instead

Fernando said the posters, as well as the “Pahayagan ng Bayan” wired frames he has installed on street islands which issue public advisories, do not obstruct the flow of traffic and are not public hazards.

He advised DPWH-National Building Code Development Office Director Emmanuel Cuntapay to just “do his job and remove the commercial billboards found violating the law instead of the MMDA posters.”

Cuntapay has appealed to Fernando to put down his streamers because they might endanger motorists and pedestrians, especially during typhoons.

Popular request

Fernando said the Pahayagan ng Bayan structures were put up upon the request of various government agencies for their respective advocacies.

“We have to inform everybody through these posters and Pahayagan ng Bayan. They are the most effective way to do it. They are all in the interest of the general public,” he said.

Since last month, the DPWH has dismantled 315 billboards in the metropolis, mostly along Edsa.

The campaign to remove illegal billboards gained momentum after the 2006 Typhoon Milenyo wreaked havoc on the metropolis, toppling more than 40 such structures.(PDI)

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