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Public hearing on telco towers set

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

A public hearing to address the concerns of residents who oppose the construction of the cellular towers of Dito Telecommunity in barangays Alijis and Taculing in Bacolod City will be conducted next week.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Information Communication Technology, said that through the public hearing, he hopes to clarify the concerns raised by residents living near the cell towers.

Espino said residents of Doña Juliana Subdivision in Taculing and Purok Himaya in Alijis, where the towers are to be erected, are opposing the construction because of health and structural integrity concerns.

He said the contractor of the towers and a representative of the telecom company are expected to attend the public hearing.

Espino stressed that a Joint Memorandum Circular has been issued regarding the construction of cell sites nationwide where an SP or Sangguniang Bayan resolution and Environmental Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Non-coverage are no longer required in the construction of cellular towers.

DEPARTMENTS INVOLVED

The JMC was issued 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.

But Office of the Building Official head, Nestor Velez, said earlier that barangay clearance and building permit are still mandatory for cell tower constructions.

Bacolod also has an existing ordinance where a public hearing is necessary when cellular tower construction is being opposed by residents, Espino said.

So far, no residents from other areas have filed complaints against cell site constructions in their areas, he said.

Espino said the reason why these towers are constructed in residential areas is to boost the signal of the users in that area and nearby places.

He also said telco companies have to meet the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for them to boost their signal.

It is probably the reason why they decided to construct the towers despite the lack of business permit, he said, adding that the contractors are willing to pay the fines. Four cellular tower constructions in Bacolod have, so far, been issued notices of violation by OBO for lack of building permits.*

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