Kapihan: A Brew of Barangay and Geopolitics

Manila Bulletin, October 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

Kapihan: A Brew of Barangay and Geopolitics


Byline: Cerge M. Remonde

A GASOLINE price rollback of P1.00 per liter is still possible, given the continuing downtrends in the global price of oil.

Reduction in transport fare should follow suit, according to an LTFRB formula.

Meanwhile, government's highest priority is the billboard clean-up as of now. The responsible parties, both in and out of government, will be held to full account in due time.

Lately, North Korean brinkmanship has put the region and the rest of the world on edge, but it is not as bad as originally feared. Nevertheless, the interest of the 42,000 Filipinos in South Korea is closely monitored and amply protected.

Those were some of the highlights of Kapihan ng Bayan yesterday, another star studded session that featured Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairperson Len Bautista, Energy Undersecretary Mar Salazar, Department of Foreign Affairs Executive Director Charles Jose, and Outdoor Advertising Association of the Phils. Chairman Carlo Llave.

Billboards are still hot, judging by the questions coming from the provincial stations of Radyo ng Bayan. But it is a problem that is well on its way to a rational solution. They all agreed that a problem exists with the proliferation of all sizes and shapes of billboards. There is an ongoing attempt to define the boundaries of that problem, in terms of the interests of the stakeholders; there is a sincere and serious effort to reconcile policies, such as the National Building Code and Local Government Code, to rationalize the industry and thereafter police its ranks.

DPWH and MMDA are now focused on the immediate abatement of billboards as hazards to life, limb, property, and even morality and good taste. A total of 551 BB's have been removed in Metro Manila and Central Luzon, according to Sec. Ebdane.

OAAP, for its part, is waiting to come on board and help put the industry back on its feet under rules that would not put the public at any risk, high wind or high water. Let's just see how and where the players take it from here. …

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