Regulation of cell sites in Benguet pushed

CELLULAR towers installed in residential areas considered as health hazards prompted the Provincial Board of Benguet to regulate construction, upgrading, operation of cellular sites in the Benguet province.

Lawyer Juan Nazarro, author of the proposed measure said more stringent guidelines must be imposed to minimize adverse effects on residents.

Under the proposed ordinance, studies cited people below antenna sites and in a distance less than 300 meters are at higher risk because of the electromagnetic radiation emission which has detrimental health effects including cancer.

The proposed ordinance prohibits construction, installation, upgrading, operation of a cellular site without application filed in the Office of the Governor.

Considered health hazards, communication facilities are not allowed to install within 300 meters near schools, churches, public and private buildings, residential buildings, and historic sites.

The proposed ordinance applies to all telecommunication companies, contractors and sub-contractors applying to build base station, cellular towers and wireless communication facilities in Benguet.

New applicants must comply with the National Telecommunications (NTC) and Air Transportation Office standards and are asked of 12 different requirements as underscored in the proposed ordinance.

A P10,000 application fee is proposed per cell site tower including its shed who will construct, install, upgrade, operate.

Facilities must undergo renewal of necessary location clearance from the Radiation Health Services of the Department of Health and certification of compliance from the NTC regulations prior to the electromagnetic radiation and other emissions by the facility.

Towers and similar facilities must be five meters away from any property line, public and private road and right of way.

A written agreement or consent must also be secured from landowners by the proposed cell tower sites.

Telecommunication companies must warrant to the operation and construction of their facilities is has no adverse effect on the health.

In addition, normal operations of telecommunications equipment including towers must not affect the signal of FM and AM radio, and television.

If found to cause damages after due investigation, companies must promptly take corrective action.

A fine of P5,000 fine will be imposed to violators and must immediately halt its operation. Government offices issuing business permits without compliance of the ordinance will be charged of an administrative case for gross neglect of duty.

In the public consultation on December 12 at the Provincial Capitol, inputs were given by several barangay officials in the different towns of the province. One includes installation of cell tower sites is being conducted without the local government officials being notified on the matter.

And additional recommendation to discover the health hazards to the environment of the tower sites aside from detrimental effects on the health of stakeholders.

Provincial Board Member Johnny Waguis, who presided the consultation urged barangay officials to assert their police powers to inspect ongoing operation of cell tower sites.

Prior to the public hearing, lawmakers on Wednesday urged stakeholders’ additional inputs on the matter.


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