- The LTFRB issues a memorandum that allows the posting of political ads on PUVs
- The memorandum affirms the Supreme Court’s decision on a previous Comelec resolution
- Chairman Ginez reminds operators that a special permit is needed to put up ads on PUVs
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued a memorandum that allows the posting of political ads on public utility vehicles (PUVs) in light of the upcoming national elections.
In an article written by Xianne Arcangel for GMA News Online on December 29, it was disclosed that the agency has issued Memorandum Circular No. 2015-029; affirming the Supreme Court’s decision last April to declare as null and void the ban on election-related PUV ads previously set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
According to the document signed by LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez, the public transport regulator has made amendments to Memorandum Circular Nos. 2009-016 and 2013-005 in order to update the policies involved in putting up advertising materials on mass transit vehicles; thereby accommodating political ads on PUVs.
Government Resolution No. 206020 of the Supreme Court states that: “The right to express one’s preference for a candidate is likewise part of the fundamental right to free speech. Thus, any governmental restriction on the right to convince others to vote for a candidate carries with it a heavy presumption of invalidity.“
However, Ginez reminded all PUV operators that since political materials are considered as public advertisements, special permits need to be sought before such forms of signage can be put up on vehicles.
“We will require bus companies concerned to apply for a special permit. Otherwise they have to remove the ads in order to avoid the fine of P10,000 per unit for the first offense,” the agency executive said.
On January 15, 2013, the Comelec has issued Resolution No. 9615; providing the prohibited forms of election propaganda and instituting a ban on the posting of campaign materials in “public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains, taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs and tricycles, whether motorized or not.”
After 15 days from the resolution’s issuance, 1-UTAK president Melencio F. Vargas wrote to the Comelec to react on the policy; saying that it constitutes a violation on transport operators’ freedom of speech.