Sep 29, 2006

[Philippines] Of Typhoons and Billboards

The few times the Philippines, my country, makes it to international news headlines, it normally has to involves natural disasters or political instability. What can a guy do, right? It is a third world country after all in Southeast Asia so storms and typhoons are inevitable along with political strife, coup attempts and pocket revolutions. All that and beauty pageants to boot!

Well, Typhoon Milenyo (international name: Xangsane) has put the Philippines on the world news map, in a manner of speaking, with a reported death toll ranging from 16-28 depending on what report you end up reading. Yes, this country can't even generate a consistent death toll report. Each government department seems to have its own opinion on just how many people are dead, missing or whatever.

Most of the northern island of Luzon remains to be in darkness as a number of power lines remain down - something that makes me hope that this will urge the government to push for underground power lines in the future. Bus crushed under fallen billboard

Typhoons like Milenyo always revive discussions about the nature of billboards within the metropolis. Often times they are reported as a hazard to motorists for a variety of reasons such as distracting drivers or getting blown over during typhoons. This is far from the first time this has been considered.

To be fair to the government, the MMDA has previously attempted to get these billboards removed to little avail, meeting resistance from local advertising groups and even the Supreme Court to no avail. Personally, I feel very strongly against the large hazards and hope that this recent storm and the many affected by blown-over billboards might get people to realize the risks we face with them dominating the city skyline and in turn take action.

Then again, money talks more than large scale disasters too, as loathe as we are to admit it at times, and I doubt anything significant will change in time for the next major tropical depression that is bound to hit the country.

Note: Kudos to for using Google as its search engine. It made writing this article a lot easier on the research side.

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