Billboard city-A A +A
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
'Far from being urban blight, billboards enhance environment because their content balances commercial opportunity with art and public service'. (Sun.Star editorial, July 20)
WOW! Billboards enhance the environment? Billboards are art? Surely billboards - electronic or otherwise - are merely advertising writ very large bludgeoning us into buying those overpriced jeans - paying for the label - or that blandburger minced from bio-engineered cows.
Why should the city tolerate billboards at all? Don't we suffer enough advertising? Television is nothing but adverts, programs sandwiched between ads, programs cut off midstream to accommodate ads. The city's posts and poles are slapped with fliers, hung with banners and streamers and next year, election year, the mess will be even worse no matter what toothless edicts emanate from the SP. Many of our sidestreets - take a look - are cluttered with broken down and abandoned pushcarts, adverts on wheels, painted up in the red and blue colors we know so well. Our newspapers, to pay their way, are 50 percent adverts, magazines even worse. Your local tindahan will have plastic flags and banners stapled to its frontage and eaves, adverts guaranteed to be superseded next week by an improved formula, the old banners not collected by the company staplers but discarded to become yet more junk littering our streets.
If this were an illustrated column I could show you views of Mount Apo from the city 'enhanced' by gigantic billboards; I could show you a visitor's first impression of the city 'enhanced' by the regiment of billboards marching alongside Bankerohan bridge; I could show you skyline views of Davao distinguished not by architecture but by billboards.
I'd ban billboards entirely. They're unsightly, distracting and a hazard in gusty tropical depression weather. Billboards serve no useful purpose whatever apart from putting money into their sponsors' pockets which, I suppose, is what it's all about. Never mind the environment, never mind the city's 'looks', never mind maybe a fatal accident, a driver glancing at a flapping billboard tarpaulin - we can make some money here.
Ironic isn't it that in a city where you need a permit to sing carols at Christmastime or chop down a tree or erect a fence you can sling up a 60 foot square billboard where you like without any consideration to your neighbors or the possible effect on the community.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 08, 2012.