Globe seeks homeowners’ help in cell site controversy


GLOBE Telecom Inc. is seeking the cooperation of homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to facilitate the construction of new cell sites as part efforts to get the cooperation of stakeholders in improving internet service.

Aside from red tape that plagues the process of securing permits from the government, getting the permission of HOAs is one of the major hurdles in building a cell site, Globe General Counsel Froilan Castelo said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is quite ironic that homes of big business owners and entrepreneurs do not have internet connection only because their HOAs refuse to allow telcos in,” Castello said.

Getting the go signal from an HOA is one of the 25 permits that delays telecom infrastructure development to more than a year, the telco executive noted.

Globe cell sites have been issued radiation-safety certificates by the Department of Health, proof that radio frequency signals coming from such facilities do not pose any adverse impact on health, the company said.
“At the minimum, we get four permits from the Department of Health each time we put up a cell site. This ensures our facilities adhere to global health standards,” Castello noted.

“These radiation-safety certificates should allay concerns about alleged health hazard that most HOAs are concerned about. If we really want First World internet connectivity, we should be able to provide reliable internet services in every home at least within the metropolis,” he added.

The radiation-safety certificates issued by DOH are based on guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on maximum human exposures to radio frequency fields.

“Even if we present permits and certificates from the DOH, we still need to undergo a long and tedious process. We have to get a barangay permit, appear in public hearings, win the referendum before we are allowed to build a cell site in any exclusive village,” Castello noted.

Having been classified by the World Health Organization as non-ionizing radio waves, the radio frequency signals coming from cell sites do not pose any adverse health effects on human and animal cells. Other low frequency devices that emit non-ionizing radio signals are transistor radios, microwave ovens and baby monitors.

Ionizing radiations that pose health risks are X-rays, ultraviolet rays and gamma rays that break deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) chemical bonds.

Despite the DOH safety certificates, several villages have lobbied to have the cell sites in their areas removed, citing health risks, Castello noted.

Such villages include Sitio Calvary Hills in Barangay Apas, Cebu City; Green Meadows Subdivision in Quezon City; Upper Market Subdivision, Baguio City.

Taking down cell sites have resulted in the degradation of mobile service to the detriment of other customers within a 5-kilometer radius.


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