Corporate News

By Arra B. Francia

Globe hits homeowner associations for blocking proposals to build cell sites

Posted on March 28, 2017

GLOBE Telecom, Inc. criticized the homeowner associations of at least 25 exclusive villages in Metro Manila for barring the construction of cell sites, which the telco giant says prevents them from improving mobile and Internet coverage in the area.

People pass by signages for Philippines telecommunications company Globe Telecom -- BW FILE PHOTO
Globe took out an ad in a major newspaper for its open letter to customers living in posh residential communities, including Forbes Park, Dasmariñas, Magallanes, San Lorenzo, and Bel-Air in Makati City.

In the letter, Globe said it has been unable to provide sufficient mobile and Internet coverage in the said villages “due to continuing challenges in securing the necessary permits and right-of-way approval from your respective homeowner associations and/or barangays.”

“The simple truth is that we are not being allowed to construct cell sites, roll out fiber optic cables, and other telecommunications facilities in your area which are necessary to improve mobile signals and provide access to Internet services,” the company said.

Other villages identified by Globe in the letter were: La Vista, Greenhills North, Fruitville, JEE Village, BF Homes, Merville, South Bay Garden, Concepcion, Modesta, Loyola Grand Villas, Jaybee, St. Mary’s Subdivision, Vista Real Classica Subdivision, Meteor Homes, Valle Verde 1, Kings Vill Executive Village, Smile CitiHomes Condominium, Thomas Homes, and Vista Rio.

Globe also sought support from residents in the said villages to be able to secure approvals and clearances from the homeowner associations and barangays.

“With twin issues of permits and right of way going on for several years now, you as residents and members of your respective homeowner’s associations are held equally responsible in ensuring your areas are covered by mobile signal and Internet connectivity,” the company said.

“If the homeowner’s associations will continue to disallow telecommunications facilities inside villages, then they are violating the rights of residents who are being deprived of their right to Internet access,” it added.

Globe said the homeowner associations opposed the applications to build cell sites in the villages, mostly due to alleged health hazards.

The Ayala-led firm, however, cited research from the World Health Organization and International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection debunking claims that cell sites have adverse effects on human health.

It added the Department of Health has also ensured the Philippine Standard of thermal heat emissions from local cell sites “are at least four times lower than what has been approved globally.”

In a telephone interview, Forbes Park Homeowners Association and Village Manager Jun Medina said they are still working with Globe to process the necessary papers before approving the cell site.

However, Mr. Medina declined to comment on the company’s open letter, saying this has yet to be discussed by the board.

Globe earlier said approval from the village’s homeowner associations is one of the 25 permits that a telecommunications company has to secure before putting up a cell site. Completing the necessary permits currently takes an average of eight months, with bureaucratic red tape and the absence of standard fees also prolonging the process, according to the company.

The company previously stated the Philippines still lacks enough cell sites that would allow telco operators to provide faster Internet service, with only 16,300 towers compared to Vietnam’s 70,000. The company currently has a backlog of 3,000 cell towers.

Globe has called for the amendment of the Local Government Code to facilitate the application for the construction of cell sites, stating that the government must enable the sector to undertake infrastructure builds.

Last week, the Department of Information and Communications submitted a draft executive order (EO) that aimed to expedite the processing of permits and licenses for putting up telecom and broadcast facilities. If approved, the EO would speed up the process to seven days from the current average of eight months.

Shares in Globe closed at P1,960 apiece on Monday, up 0.82% or P16.