an easement for light and view

the inquirer's editorial on billboard blight does not correctly state that the problem of billboards was again brought to the attention of the public by the risqué, if not eruption-inducing photos of the philippine volcanoes, the national rugby team (what? there is a philippine rugby team?). i say incorrectly, because in my mind, it has always been a problem, long before i left the house following milenyo's onslaught to find a mesh of metal prostrate on EDSA, long before i went south to find the SLEx's twisted web of frames following another typhoon. i say incorrectly because it has been a perennial problem, not brought to the fore by men in skimpy undergarments.

i've always hated billboards. i admit i look at them, because they're there. how can you not look away when they display things so titillating? so unexpectedly huge? so blown up? but i wouldn't mind not seeing any. i find it ultimately refreshing to travel on a bus or some private carriage just after PAG-ASA forecasts strong winds. almost immediately, the humongous images are brought down, and i am once again reminded of the color of the sky. the city government's response to the unabashed display of skin is at best shallow. it does not address the problem of billboards and the dangers they pose to motorists and the general public, but the non-problems of personal insecurity, overexposure, and the arrogance that one's values must be imposed on everyone else. the reason they were taken down was the lack of a permit. permit for what? displaying bodies? apparently, the billboards are back up, without the near-naked athletes. has the permit been granted? so why not return the same ones?

my view may be a bit more draconian, but i think it's necessary: ban all billboards. they're distracting, they pollute, they block the view. i once remarked that i love cruising along the length of SCTEx because it is virtually billboard-free. but that too is changing, it seems. we should act fast before billboards eat up what little sky we have left. they are a problem regardless of whether they display skin, cleavages, wrist watches, or clothes with flowery prints. they cast a long shadow and uglify an already dirty city. they choke an already clogged artery in the metropolis. i don't know why it should take a few guys in whispers of cloth to make people realize that we need to regulate billboards. we should have realized this years ago! in fact, we should have foreseen the problems before they started popping on EDSA.