• Malaysian Embassy failed to act on complaints of noise generated by its cooling towers

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    Residents of the Two Lafayette Square Condominium in Makati City deplored the inaction of the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines regarding their complaints on the 10-hour noise created by its three cooling towers.

    The condominium, which is located beside the embassy in Salcedo Village in Makati City said that they have complained about the eight- 10-hour noise created by the cooling towers since last year.

    Next month would be the 12th year since they raised their concerns about the noise. According to the Two Lafayette Square Condominum Association Inc., it has made numerous follow-ups to the embassy since August 22 last year.

    It also sent a letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on February 6 this year.

    But until now, the Malaysian embassy has yet to take action on the complaints it received from the condominium’s residents.

    Because of its failure to act there is a growing belief among the residents that the Malaysian embassy may not want to “comply fully with local ordinances on noise pollution as it is a foreign entity entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunity.”

    “Their lack of urgency is contributing to this perception,” John Huang, president of the Board of Directors of Two Lafayette Square Condominium Corp., said in a statement.

    “Regardless, such attitude should not be tolerated as the problem caused by the noise pollution is not related at all to these immunity and privileges,” it added.

    Malaysia, a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, is bound to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state.

    “To our dismay, the Malaysian embassy continue to be non-responsive and remain evasive as to when they will heed to the complaints of the residents and comply with the noise pollution standard as set by the Makati Commercial Estate Association [Macea],” Huang said.

    “The technology for noise dampening of cooling towers is readily available in the Philippines so residents are wondering why it is taking so long for the Malaysian Embassy to address this. Even assuming they would want Malaysian contractors to install these noise dampening walls, it would not take more than 11 months to design and install said walls.”

    On many occasions, Macea has already shutdown businesses or imposed sanctions on building owners who violated their regulations.

    “However, it seems they are helpless when it comes to infractions committed by embassies of foreign countries,” he said.

    In February, reports came out about the complaints made by the condominum residents against the embassy.

    Zakaria Nasir, head of Chancery of the Malaysian embassy, said they already conducted a noise measurement level test to their coolers while fully functioning.

    The test showed that the coolers emitted 80-85 dB of noise which far exceeds the 65dB maximum limit of noise allowed by Macea’s Memorandum Circular 97-06.

    With this result, Nasir said they immediately referred the matter to their mechanical consultant who in turn proposed to install acoustic louvers noise barrier within the area where the coolers are located.

    However, the Malaysian embassy official pointed out that they still need some time to figure out the installation cost of these barriers and then submit a proposal to their  headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to apply for budget allocation for such an undertaking.

    “These process may take some time for our headquarters to make a perusal on our proposal before they approve it and furnish us with allocation to proceed with the installation,” Nasir said.

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