Kudos to MMDA
DEAR Mr. Villanueva:

Dear Mr. Villanueva:

AS an avid reader of People's Journal, I was very much disappointed the way Mr. Dennis F. Fetalino dealt with the campaign of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority against illegal and non-complaint billboard owners and operators along EDSA, specifically within the jurisdiction of Makati City.

In this Ped Xing column last April 3, 2012, Mr. Fetalino has undoubtedly favored the assertion of the Outdoor Media Advocacy Group that MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino committed unlawful acts in ordering what it called a “Gestapo like” dismantling of outdoor advertising billboards along EDSA in Makati City.

As an environmental planner and a keen observer of metropolitan affairs, I haven't seen or heard of any illegal or despicable acts committed by MMDA against outdoor advertisers and operators. Is MMDA usurping the powers of the Department of Public Works and Highways, and in the process Chairman Tolentino offensively violated the law when he alleged ordered MMDA personnel to dismantle outdoor advertising billboards and tarpaulin materials along EDSA in Makati? I contend that it isn't.

I firmly believe that the MMDA is just doing its job, and Chairman Tolentino is just performing his duties as mandated by law. Being a lawyer himself, Tolentino has full grasps (sic) of the law and fully knows his turf. This is principally because Republic Act 7924, the law that created the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, empowers among others, the MMDA to; a) formulate, coordinate and monitor policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing infrastructure requirement, the use of thoroughfares and promotion of safe and convenient movement in Metro Manila; b) formulate rules and implement policies, rules and regulations, standards, programs and projects for the promotion and safeguarding of the health of the region and for the enhancement of ecological balance; and c) formulate and implement programs, policies and procedures to achieve public safety, especially preparedness for preventive or rescue operation in times of calamities and disasters such as but not limited to earthquakes, flood and storm surge and coordination and mobilization of resources.

As a motorist who is daily driving along EDSA, I am in high spirits that by persistently demolishing the giant billboards along EDSA, among other major roads the metropolis, the MMDA is now preventing the occurrence of toppling of billboards to promote safety to passengers and motorists, and advance at the same time ease the heavy nationwide infrastructure responsibilities of DPWH.

The agency's dauntless campaign against illegal and non-complaint outdoor advertising billboards and other advertising signs, among other programs and projects of MMDA, deserves the multipartisan support of everybody in government and the unqualified endorsement of all sectors of society, including the media represented by Mr. Fetalino.

Under Chairman Tolentino's leadership, it is becoming noticeable that MMDA is gradually changing the bad images of the metropolis as poverty-stricken, overly populated, polluted, filthy, crime hot spots, poor delivery of basic urban services, and lacking planning foresight. The agency is indeed improving the metropolitan environs for the better.

Thank you and more power.


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