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“Our ads are tastefully done.”
This was motel chain Victoria Court’s response to various media reports that had a Pasay priest condemning its latest advertising campaign. A promotional billboard for the motel shows two couples in a cinema with the accompanying copy: "After a movie… Where next?"
"It’s really subject to the viewer’s interpretation," said a post on Victoria Court’s Twitter page, www.twitter.com/VictoriaCourtVC, on Friday.
Various media reports quoted Fr. Antonio Navarrete, Jr. of the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish in Pasay City saying on Church-run Radio Veritas that the billboard was an invitation for people to "commit something bad or immoral."
The priest called on the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to bring down the billboard.
News reports said the MMDA vowed to address the issue, although InterAksyon has yet to talk to the head of MMDA's Task Force Baklas Billboard.
InterAksyon is also awaiting Navarrete's statement, as he is away from the parish as of posting time.
Here are the other ads from Victoria Court's Twitter and Instagram accounts:
While the fate of the billboard remains unclear, the MMDA has taken down outdoor advertisements in the past. In 2011, after a complaint from Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr., they took down a Bench's underwear campaign featuring members of the Philippine Volcanoes, the national rugby team, along EDSA-Guadalupe. Ads of actresses and members of the Philippine Azkals were also taken down all over Metro Manila.
In the same year, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino filed at least 18 criminal cases against billboard operators who violated the National Building Code, and did not have the necessary permits.
Through its "Operation Roll Down, Baby" campaign in 2011, the MMDA, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and local government units inspected billboards along EDSA and C-5 to see if they erected in compliance with the law.
It was a task the MMDA undertook not just to "stop the rapid invasion of these visual eyesores," in the words of Tolentino, but also to "control the proliferation of non-compliant billboards which are hazardous to lives and property."
It also created a Billboard Office under the leadership of Marikina City Mayor Del de Guzman to review and regulate ads along major thoroughfares.
In December last year, the MMDA sent around 100 confiscated billboards and tarpaulins to the typhoon-devastated New Bataan in Compostela Valley and Cateel in Davao Oriental. Tolentino said these could be used as roofing materials for makeshift shelters.