BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Several residents in Purok Himaya, Brgy. Alijis, Bacolod City have expressed their opposition to the construction of a cellsite of Dito Telecommunications in their area.
In a letter submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod, addressed to Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and Councilor Archie Baribar, chairman of the SP Committee on Communications, the residents called for a stoppage of the cellsite construction.
The complainants said that residents in nearby Purok Paghigugma are also against the construction.
They said that a resolution was passed by their purok council in July last year against the cellsite construction with signatures of at least 61 residents, so they were surprised that it pushed through.
In the purok resolution, the officials said they would like to protect their community against the effect of the over-saturation of electromagnetic and wireless radiation exposure to the ecosystem.
“The cellular companies list the benefits of improved coverage, faster data, and better services as a result installing this technology but they avoid any focus on health and safety issues that is our primary concern,” they added.
PUBLIC HEARING SOUGHT
They asked if a public hearing and coordination from the community are no longer necessary for the construction of the cellsite.
Familiaran said they are going to discuss the matter in their regular session today but added that a Joint Memorandum Circular has been issued regarding the construction of cellsites nationwide.
The JMC was signed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Department of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Section 6.5 of the circular says that an SP or Sangguniang Bayan resolution and Environmental Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Non-coverage, if the proposed site of construction is outside an environmentally-critical area, are no longer necessary in the construction of cell towers.
A radiation safety evaluation report from the FDA and certified true copy of an NTC Provisional Authority or Public Convenience and Necessity or Certificate of Registration to provide telecommunication services are also not necessary, it added.*