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Councilor wants to amend zoning law to ease telcos in tower requirements

A City Councillor wants to amend the requirements for telecommunication companies in setting up cell sites, particularly in the underserved areas in the city.

City Councilor Conrado Baluran, chair of the council’s committee on transportation and communications, said there is a need to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of Davao City Series of 2013, specifically on the requirements of the telecommunications companies to put up cell site towers.

“The city will promote a pro-competitive and responsive environment initiatives for telecommunication providers in order for the latter to provide better cellphone services and faster internet access,” said Baluran. “To achieve such goal without compromising any safety or regulatory measures, there is a need to revisit or amend Ordinance No. 0546-14 Series of 2013.”

Presently, the telecommunication companies must seek first for approval for additional allowable use in the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) prior to the construction of towers, the councilor said.

After a favorable endorsement from the Local Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals (LZBAA), the City Council will determine the final approval.

Baluran, however, noted that the requirements in securing the Locational Clearance, in compliance with Section 6 of Ordinance No. 0463- 13, otherwise known as the ordinance providing for the regulation of the construction and maintenance of cellular towers for mobile phone services in the City of Davao, and the requirements being required by the LZBAA and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) are almost the same.

This, he said, is a major factor for the revisit or amendments of the ordinance.

He also echoed the concerns of the telcos during one committee hearing that, in spite of their earnest efforts to make the entire city dead-spot free, “they remain to be handicapped since it took them one year or more to get a resolution of favorable endorsement from LZBAA upon filing.”

Baluran also noted that in spite of the present emerging telecommunication advancement, there are still areas in the city, especially in the far-flung barangays of the second and third districts that are dead spots.

He said that some users “have to climb on their roof or trees just to make an important call or send messages.”

The councilor added that it is necessary to intensify the signal convergence, especially in times of calamities where communication is important to seek immediate help and rescue.

The matter was referred jointly to the Committee on Rules, Privileges, Laws and Ordinances and Committee on Transportation and Communications during the regular session last Tuesday.

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