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Construction of 3 more cell sites in city halted

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

Three other cell site constructions in Bacolod City were halted by the Office of the Building Official for lack of construction permits, OBO head Nestor Velez said yesterday.

Velez said these are the cell sites of Globe Teleco Inc. at Hermelinda Homes and Gardenville subdivisions in barangays Mansilingan and Tangub, respectively.

He said the other cell site is owned by Dito Telecommunity at Doña Juliana Subdivision in Brgy. Taculing, that will be issued a final notice and the case will be endorsed to the City Legal Office for action.

Residents near the cell site held a prayer vigil yesterday as they oppose its construction, adding that they were surprised that the building of the tower continued even after the OBO already issued a notice of violation against it.

If indeed the construction of the cell site continued despite the work stoppage order of the OBO, a P10,000 administrative fine will be issued against the telecom company, Velez said.

This is on top of the fines they have earlier imposed against the firm for constructing their cell site without building permits, he said.

Last week, the construction of Dito’s cellular tower in Purok Himaya in Brgy. Alijis was also stopped by OBO for lack of a building permit.

As to the cell tower of Globe at Hermelinda Homes, Velez said, they have already issued a notice of violation and work stoppage against it but no one was available to receive the order.

He said they inspected the cell site of Globe at Gardenville Subdivision and saw that they have already started excavating the land although there was no structure constructed yet.

Velez urged telco companies to secure building permits prior to construction of their cell sites to avoid penalties.

But he admitted that they did not have any idea about the cell site constructions and were later caught by surprise when they received complaints.

REASONS

One of the possible reasons why telcos fail to secure permits before construction is that they were running after the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte to improve their services or they will not be issued franchise, Velez said.

He said that it is also possible that the delay is due to the flow of communication between the local and national management of the telcos.

Velez noted that every time they conduct pre-evaluation and ask the telcos to correct something in their design, they need to forward it to their main offices and it takes time before it is sent back here.

PERMIT NOT WAIVED

A Joint Memorandum Circular has been issued regarding the construction of cell sites 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.

Under Section 6.5 of the circular, an SP or Sangguniang Bayan resolution and Environmental Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Non-coverage are no longer necessary in the construction of cell towers if the proposed site is outside an environmentally-critical area.

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. But Velez said the building permit was not waived in a joint memorandum.*

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