Apas cell towers remain active
May B. Miasco/FPL (The Freeman) - February 18, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City government yesterday failed to deactivate the cell tower of Globe Telecom in Barangay Apas despite the absence of an injunctive order from the court.

This after the telecom giant refused to send a representative to assist the personnel of the city’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement in deactivating the tower.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who ordered the deactivation following complaints from the residents of Sitio Calvary Hills, now wants a complete shutdown of the cell tower.

“I am making a recommendation to mayor (Michael Rama) for him to send a letter to Globe Telecom asking them to assist PROBE in deactivating their cell site and help in removing the infrastructure,” said Labella.

Globe’s tower in Sitio Calvary Hills as well as that of Sun Cellular had been ordered deactivated by Labella during his stint as acting mayor after the City Council revoked their permit.

Sun Cellular’s tower, however, was spared from the scheduled deactivation yesterday after the company secured a 72-hour Temporary Restraining Order from the Regional Trial Court.

“But Globe did not seek for injunctive relief… It was time for us to deactivate but no show,” said Labella.

The city government has solicited the technical assistance of the National Telecommunications Commission in the deactivation of the tower but even with the NTC officials presence yesterday, PROBE personnel could not deactivate the tower without Globe Telecom’s representative.

NTC-7 legal officer Allan Macaraya Jr. said his presence was only to witness the supposed deactivation.

“We are just here to assist it through Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella on the closure order. That’s our role here and we are also here to witness whether the closure was done properly in accordance with law,” said Macaraya.

The city government’s failure to implement the deactivation order has upset the residents led by Dr. Porponio Lapa, president of the Calvary Hills Apas Residents’ Organization.

Lapa said they had been waiting for the day to come that the city government would deactivate the cell sites. The homeowners association had long been fighting for the closure of the cell towers claiming that the radiation emitted by these towers have caused the death of several residents suffering from cancer-related illnesses.

“I am very disappointed since we expected that the deactivation will finally hold through,” said Lapa.

Lapa together with Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman said that the towers must be deactivated as soon as possible.

“Dili makapahimutang sa mga tawo diri, in fact, adunay 25 nga kaso hangtud na nga nisaka ngadto sa 30 na recorded nga cancer-related death,” Lapa added.

A victory celebration by the barangay officials and the residents was called off yesterday after the city failed to enforce the order.  (FREEMAN)

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