High court settles conflict over Signage Ordinance of Davao City

May. 30, 2018

Billboards located at Governor Generoso Bridge 1 along MacArthru highway in Davao City. (davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The City Building Office here awaits a copy of the Supreme Court decision regarding the promulgation of Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Evasco Jr, and Avisado versus Davao Billboard and Signmakers Association (DABASA), Incorporated.

Engr. Cirinia Grace Catubig, officer-in-charge of the CBO said, in an interview, that she was informed by the City Legal office regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on the case filed March 28, 2006 for the injunction and declaration of nullity of City Ordinance No. 092-2000 or the Signage Ordinance of Davao City and order of demolition dated March 17,2006 with application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.

City Ordinance No. 092-2000 prohibits obstruction of the view of Mt. Apo and the Island Garden City of Samal by billboards.

DABASA on their part alleged that the City Ordinance is unconstitutional for being overbreadth in its application, vague and inconsistent with Presidential Decree No. 1096 or the National Building Code.

In April 17,2006, the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 of Davao City granted the respondent’s petition and declared null and void Sections 7,8,37,41 and 45 of the Davao City Ordinance No. 092 series of 2000 which was last affirmed with modifications by the Court of Appeals, reinstating the validity of Section 41 stating the “restricted areas” for installation and display of any advertising and propaganda materials in areas identified by the ordinance.

But in a decision of the Supreme Court released February 21, 2018, regarding the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 filed by then City Engineer Leoncio Evasco Jr, the court “reversed and set aside” the decision and the amended decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 14, 2011 and October 13,2011.

Catubig said the “implementation of the Billboard Ordinance will be from the time her office received the copy of the decision.”

She said the court’s decision “will answer the question of distance” between billboards which are stated in the National Building Code. Under 4.2.2 of the National Building Code, “the minimum distance of new signs or signboard structures shall be one hundred (100) meters apart.

Catubig said that more or less 20 identified Billboards located in Generoso Bridge 1 and 2 violated the code under Section 8 of the City Ordinance No.092. But she clarified that most of these billboards were granted permits before the billboard law crafted under the new Building Code.

“These billboards were installed before the Building Code was amended in the year 2005,” Catubig added.

Upon receiving the copy of the court’s decision, the CBO “will conduct an evaluation of billboards in the city and will immediately order the billboard’s owners to comply.”

Catubig said the owners can dismantle the structure in seven days time.

Meanwhile, Davao City Councilor Maria Belen Acosta who chairs the Committee on Peace and Public Safety said in a press conference on Tuesday that she is planning to propose amendments on the Signage Ordinance.

Acosta said the council should amend the stress of punishment against offenders.

Acosta reiterated that proper and strict implementation should be observed and the scope of the ordinance needs to expand to keep the spirit of the law to preserve the cultural and historical significance of the two cultural landmarks. (davaotoday.com)

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