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‘Ad industry’s self-regulation to remain despite Cha-cha’

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker yesterday allayed fears of some sectors that the proposed economic provisions in the Constitution will remove self-regulation and editorial independence in the advertising industry.

According to Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the House of Representatives committee on constitutional amendments, these two aspects are retained in Charter change resolutions pending in Congress.

“We are focused on the ownership issue. There is no plan to disturb whatever internal arrangement existing in the ad industry like self-regulation. I will not support any proposal to change that,” Rodriguez said.

He made the statement on the heels of concerns raised by stakeholders during the Senate’s hearing on amendment proposals last week.

During the hearing, Ad Standards Council legal counsel Rudolph Jularbal told the Senate that foreign ownership would not be a problem as long as self-regulation in the local ad sector remains in place.

Jularbal noted that as long as self-regulation “is functional, regardless of the ownership of advertising agencies, content will be regulated effectively.”

Rodriguez also contradicted a statement of another Senate resource person that foreign ownership does not add value to an ad agency.

“The infusion of additional funds to a business organization, whether in the ad industry or any other sector of the economy, always adds value to that entity,” he said.

On concerns that editorial independence would be compromised, Rodriguez denied that advertisers would be the ones dictating the content when the Constitution is amended.

He said that editorial independence would be left to the best judgment of ad agencies.

“We will not interfere with editorial judgment… As to the content of an advertisement, that matter is left to the discretion of both the advertiser and its ad agency,” he added.