MANILA, Philippines – The prolonged bitter quarrel between Ayala-led Globe Telecom and posh Dasmariñas Village in Makati City has reached the legal courts.
Globe Telecom on Tuesday, June 27, made public that the telecommunication company sued Dasmariñas resident Betty Aw for moral damages amounting to a total of P5 million. Betty Aw, according to Globe Telecom, blocked the construction of the telco’s cell sites and prevented the the Ayala-led firm from improving its mobile services within the exclusive subdivision.
Globe Telecom said it filed the legal case against Betty Aw before Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 last June 13. Aside from moral damages, the telecommunication and Internet Service Provider (ISP) is also claiming exemplary damages of P500,000 plus legal attorneys’ fees.
Betty Aw is a member of Dasma Acts, a group of Dasmariñas homeowners opposed to the telco putting up an outdoor distributed antenna system (ODAS) within the said village.
The group held a press conference on Monday, June 26, accusing the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA) of violating the Republic Act 9904 or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations when it let Globe Telecom lease their subdivision streets to set up the ODAS for P4 million annually without their “written consent.”
In a press statement on Tuesday, June 27, Globe Telecom said that prior to the installation and operation of its ODAS in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, it sent a letter to DVA president Bernie Lichaytoo expressing its proposal to install and establish an ODAS in the exclusive subdivision.
Globe Telecom said that when the DVA scheduled the firm’s petition for a referendum to secure the necessary vote approving the ODAS, Betty Aw, “with manifest intention to prevent the referendum from taking place, started to spread rumors in the neighborhood, making unsubstantiated statements about the health risk brought about by the radiation emitted by telecommunications antennas.”
The telco further stressed out that Aw “distributed materials containing false information against the officers of DVA, Globe and even handed a prepared but unaccomplished undertaking or affidavit with a strong request for homeowners to sign and say they are against the construction and installation of ODAS in the subdivision and coaxed homeowners and residents to stage rallies against Globe and oppose installation of ODAS facilities.”
Globe Telecom said that the data Aw circulated set aside a measurement survey done by the Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research, which concluded that Globe Telecom’s ODAS does not exceed the safety limit in Dasmariñas Village.
“The actuations of Aw in circulating false and unsubstantiated information regarding the installation and operation of the company’s ODAS is a clear abuse of her right as she did not act with justice [or] gave Globe, the DVA and its officers as well as homeowners and residents their due. Neither did she observe honesty and good faith,” Globe Telecom said.
Aw, the telco added, acted “irresponsibly in failing to verify the truth of the nature and effects of the operation of telecommunication facilities and ODAS prior to making unfounded statements regarding radiation being emitted by telecommunications antennas and spreading the same in the community as gospel truth as to sow fear, and thus, unduly preventing the installation and operation of the company’s ODAS to the prejudice of homeowners and residents in Dasmariñas Village.”
“The malicious and false rumors were made by Ms. Aw with no other intention than to tarnish the good image of Globe. Since defendant made the statements and circulated the same in the village, the company has been receiving queries and angry calls from the homeowners and residents, government officials and influential businessmen,” Globe added.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima called on lawmakers to pass a Republic Act imposing punitive action on homeowners’ associations which will prevent the government and private companies from building telecommunications infrastructure inside their gated posh subdivisions.
Globe piloted the ODAS technology – a network of small cell sites with shared equipment connected through fiber optic links – in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City as part of the firm’s efforts to further improve mobile communication wireless connectivity experience to its customers residing in the executive subdivision. Globe Telecom’s ODAS technology uses lampposts that can transmit radio signal and deployed along sidewalks.
Globe has had difficulty obtaining permits to install its ODAS facilities in the upscale villages for some time now. The company pointed out that opening up subdivisions to such systems will help improve the reliability of its wireless services.
Globe has also taken the move of releasing an open letter to the residents of upscale villages in National Capital Region (NCR) in a bid to explain its side.