Dasmariñas Village homeowner to Globe: ‘I am not intimidated’

Rambo Talabong
'I have no choice but to fight for my rights and protect my family,' says Betty Dante Aw, the subject of a multi-million-peso civil suit filed by the telecom giant over her opposition to its cell sites in the Makati subdivision

FIGHT VS CELL SITES. Betty Dante Aw is among the Dasmariñas Village homeowners opposed to the installation of cell sites in the gated community. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Unfazed by the P5-million civil suit filed against her by Ayala-owned Globe Telecom, Dasmariñas Village resident Betty Dante Aw said she is prepared to fight the telecommunications giant over the installation of cell sites inside her gated community.

“I am not intimidated by the complaint. As a homeowner, I have rights which I must protect if my rights have been violated. I have no choice but to fight for my rights and protect my family,” Aw, a Dasmariñas resident, told Rappler in a text message, when asked about the  civil suit.

Globe is seeking P5 million in moral damages from Aw for allegedly spreading false and malicious rumors to block the construction of its cell sites within the exclusive Makati subdivision. (READ: Globe files P5-million civil suit vs Dasmariñas Village resident)

The suit was filed after Dasma Acts, a group of Dasmariñas Village homeowners formed to counter the Globe cell sites, condemned the officers of the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA), the village’s official homeowners association, for their alleged lack of transparency in dealing with Globe.

Aside from transparency concerns, Dasma Acts also fears health risks brought by cell sites near their homes. (READ: Dasmariñas Village residents quarrel over Globe cell sites)

Dasma Acts stood behind their fellow homeowner and tagged Globe Telecom as a “corporate bully” to Aw and “all the people in [the] country who only seek to protect themselves and their families from the installation of cell sites.”

What happened?

CONNECTED. Globe cell sites scatter in corners of Dasmarinas Village, Makati. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

The conflict can be traced to the time the DVA supposedly entered into a 10-year lease contract with Globe in 2008. The P2-million million deal allowed “cell site construction and broadband facilities” in the posh subdivision.

In May 2012, the DVA allegedly inked another contract with Globe allowing the the telco giant to rent the village sidewalks where cell sites were placed for P100,000 per month. According to Dasma Acts, the lease ended on May 14, 2017, but is extendible at the option of Globe.

Dasma Acts added that even though not all village residents are Globe users, the lease contract “absolutely bars other telcos from erecting similar facilities in Dasmariñas Village.”

In May 2013, the DVA allegedly agreed with Globe on an addendum to the 2012 contract. For an additional P100,000 per month, Dasma Acts said, DVA permitted the installation of “31 additional poles, BTS antenna, equipment, and cables, etc.”

According to members of Dasma Acts, they never permitted the building and leasing of the towers through a “written consent,” accusing the DVA of violating the Republic Act 9904 or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations.

After the DVA ignored repeated attempts of some homeowners to reach out to the village association, they raised the problem to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

The HLURB demanded a meeting between the DVA and the homeowners, but the village officers missed all 3 scheduled meetings for the past two months.

Because of this, the HLURB voided the results of the election of the new DVA officers on April 2, 2017. New elections will take place on July 9. Members of Dasma Acts said they will run, and vowed to regulate, if not ban, the cell sites.

Dasma Acts then dared Globe officers, who also supposedly reside inside exclusive subdivisions, to build the cell sites in front of their own homes.

“If Globe’s owners, directors, and officers truly believe that their cell towers are safe, then put their money where their mouth is: Install the cell towers on their sprawling homes. Have they? Don’t dump your cell sites on sidewalks of residential areas without the prior consent of residents,” Dasma Acts added. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.