Philippine Volcanoes National Rugby Team billboard by /BENCH were taken down

The four Bench Body billboards featuring seven underwear-clad players of the Philippine Volcanoes National Rugby Team along EDSA-Guadalupe were taken down by the billboard owners yesterday, July 7, at the request of Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, reports Bandila.

Before the billboards were fully dismantled, Abalos clarified: "Hindi ko pinapaalis, I am just requesting advertisers to have it removed." According to the mayor, he learned about the billboards through Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian who had to cover his nephew's eyes when they saw the ads while passing by EDSA. reported that Gatchalian tweeted yesterday afternoon, "Good news! Just talked to Mayor Abalos of Mandaluyong. He ordered the removal of the 'men in briefs' billboard! Thank you Mayor Abalos!" Another tweet followed saying, "Mayor Abalos: 'I personally investigated it and I myself was shocked to see it! Thanks again!' Kudos Mayor Benhur Abalos!"

In a Manila Bulletin report, Abalos said he requested the owners of billboard structures to remove the ads, and the owners obliged immediately. "I approached them at sinabi ko nga, hangga't maaari, baka maaari lang, rebyuhin n'yo. At kung nakikita n'yo at napapansin n'yo tanggalin n'yo na (I told them that if it's possible, to review the ads. And if they saw and observed it, they should remove it)," Abalos related.

The Mandaluyong mayor said the billboards were inappropriate especially since they were placed in a prominent part of busy EDSA. He also added that there was no moral angle to his request. "Baka sabihin nila nagpapakamoralista ako (People might say I'm trying to be moral). I'm not very conservative." Abalos also plans to check another nearby Bench Body billboard—one of Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo, also underwear-clad.

In a report in yesterday's episode of Bandila, citizens and netizens alike reacted to the removal of the billboards. While some applauded the removal, others were dismayed. According to ABS-CBN, some citizens even questioned why only men's lewd ads were taken down when there were also several billboards of scantily clad women. The team, which is currently in Australia, has yet to make a statement. When asked about the matter, sources at Bench said all their billboard ads are approved for public display by the Advertising Board of the Philippines.

For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News, Manila Bulletin, and View the Philippine Volcanoes' Bench Body ads here.

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