Partnerships, New Technologies and the Consumer: Moving Forward From the Pandemic

It’s a yearly event that introduced its Board of Directors every year witnessed by its counterparts from the other association of the country. This year it was different. The Ad Standards Council inducted its Board via Zoom for the first time on 20 May 2021, having narrowly missed the lockdown last year by a few days.

In-charge of screening and regulating content of all types of advertising across all platforms, the ASC is expected to transform at the same rate and level as the industry that it serves. In fact, its Advertising Code of Ethics as the basis of self-regulation quite current, and at par with global models.

Regulating half a century

At 13, expect ASC 2021 Board of Directors inducted May 20 to be reflective of teenage adventure and transformation—and all things fun. “At ASC, we knew that the organization also had to learn, unlearn and again learn and to make adjustments, in the way we do things.

“What is critical is knowing that to keep going, we should think of today, and be ready to  act on the opportunities that can upgrade the ASC and its service to stakeholders,” said ASC 2021 Chairwoman Blen Fernando. Having been in the founding Board at its inception, Fernando is hugely aware of how the ASC has been adapting to change.

The ASC is composed of representatives from its member associations of an industry almost 50 years old, namely Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines (4As-P), Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas (KBP), Media Specialists Association of the Philippines (MSAP), Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA), and United Print Media Group (UPMG). This year sees the inclusion of representation from the Out of Home Advertising Association of the Philippines for the first time.

The presence of OHAAP is another milestone for 2021, and a clear indication of ASC expanding its mandate. “Businesses cope today in various ways: creative disruption in marketing initiatives, innovation in delivery of goods and services, even heightened advocacies. We have seen the  rebirth of  partnerships and the value of bayanihan, a strong societal mindset innate in the Filipino people,” Fernando adds.

A shared agenda

The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdowns have irrevocably changed business the way people know it. Emergent industries have led the pack inducing innovation in almost every aspect of the daily grind. When the pandemic hit, the pharmaceutical industry bit the bullet and delivered the demand for medicine, supplements and supplies.

Proudly Filipino, United Laboratories (Unilab) is the country’s leading pharmaceutical group—a  brand known for ‘bayanihan, malasakit, at husay’,  and a long time member of PANA. At a time where a meeting of minds and creating strong networks are crucial to survival, It’s only apt for ASC to have its 2021 Board inducted by Sebastian Baquiran, president of Unilab.

Baquiran is no stranger to the dynamics within the private sector, communications and regulations, and the consumer. His role as inducting officer and keynote speaker strengthens the ties that bind. “We are grateful that you work closely with all of us to uphold integrity and authenticity in what we communicate. Information is now at its largest, fastest, and most malleable form,” says the president everyone calls Backy.

As a regulating body for content, ASC works closely with government units with implementing rules and regulations that include the Food and Drug Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, among others to ensure that the public—the consumers—are protected from misleading communications and fraudulent practices.

Says Baquiran, “The ASC and advertising as a whole greatly contribute to our business. Unilab belongs to one of the most highly-regulated industries because a medicine, vitamin, or food supplement taken under the wrong circumstances can make a person sick—or worse. As a communications platform, advertising helps us empower Filipinos with credible information and appropriate healthcare solutions, so they can make the right health choices. Truth in advertising is therefore paramount.”

Today’s technology, and the ease by which the public has access to any data create influencers of anyone and everyone. The capability to shout out anything to anyone across the globe in an instant places the power in the fingertips of everybody. It’s a brand new and exciting world out there. For regulatory bodies like the ASC, it’s a tightrope act. But it’s fun!

And the Unilab boss agrees, apparently. “However essential advertising is, it can also be quite dynamic. As consumers influence, and as mindsets and behavior rapidly evolve, so too must advertising evolve with it. This is why, innovation must be centered on our shared agenda. We must transform as audiences do, not just in the way we communicate but likewise in the standards we set for the industry.

Fostering partnerships

If there’s one word succinctly describing the climes it would be seamless. And, that’s how partnerships should claim to be—should aim to be. Covid-19 lockdowns necessitated migrating to digital or be left in the dust. Fighting a deadly invisible enemy on all fronts: local, global, mental and internal, and viral, it’s imperative for the advertising industry to unite.

“The very foundations of partnership must inspire us to go forward together as we build the future of our industries, whether it be navigating and co-developing policies for digital advertising, revisiting resolutions to achieve a win-win for all, or, promoting the values we share and believe in.

While our organizations are different in how we operate, our core mission is to serve every Filipino and to enrich their lives in any way we can. For this reason, we thank you for the continued partnership to help us carry out what we need to do.”

The Ad Standards Council 2021 ASC Board of Directors

Chairwoman: Belen M. Fernando, President & Board of Directors, Magna Anima Teachers College

President: Ike S. Canoy, Senior Vice President, Radio Mindanao Network

Vice President: Alexander Y. Syfu, Managing Partner & Chief Client Officer, Dentsu JaymeSyfu

Board Secretary: Dennis N. Perez, Country Media Director, Unilever Philippines, Inc.

Treasurer: Michael S. De Castro, General Manager, PHD Media Network

PRO Internal: Vivienne A. Motomal, AVP Sales & Marketing, Journal Group of Publications Inc.

PRO External: Frederick M. Alegre, PRO & Director for Government Relations, Luneta Advertising


Herman Z. Basbaño:  Vice President/COO AM Division, Bombo Radyo Philippines

Anna L. Locsin, Communications Department Head, Procter & Gamble Phils., Inc.

John T. Lucas, Chief Executive Officer, Grey Manila

Ruperto S. Nicdao, Jr., President, Manila Broadcasting Corporation

Anna Chua Norbert, Group Chief Culture Officer, DDB Philippines

Robert C. Simborio, PANA Executive Director

ASC Member Associations

Our Partner Government Agencies