Telcos score win in House OK’d bill allowing cell sites in villages
The House of Representatives has approved a bill that will allow telecommunications providers and other information, communications and technology (ICT) companies to purchase or lease land in private residential villages to build cell sites and support infrastructure.
Recently approved on third and final reading, House Bill 10388 seeks to mandate existing and future housing projects to set aside part of their land for ICT facilities—a win for the telecommunications sector in its long-running battle with defiant homeowners’ associations.
According to the proposed law, the land can come from dedicated open spaces within a village. This will amend a Marcos administration-era presidential decree requiring 30 percent of a residential subdivision to be developed and maintained as open spaces for parks and recreational areas.
“This welcome development will help ease the roadblocks that telecommunications companies experience in their rollout especially in subdivisions as many homeowners’ associations and communities still prohibit the construction of cell sites and other telecommunications infrastructure due to perceived health risks [and] aesthetic reasons,” PLDT Inc. president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio said in a statement on Friday.
Despite assuring mobile users of their safety, telecommunications providers continue to encounter resistance from private villages, whose residents believe radiation being emitted from cell tower antennas would cause health problems.
“PLDT and Smart, for our part, are embarking on an information and education campaign to address the health concerns of these homeowners’ associations,” Panlilio said while calling on senators to support the proposed law.
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