Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:05 AM July 19, 2015
With 253 “yes” votes paving the way for the installation of additional outdoor distributed antenna system (Odas) within Forbes Park, its residents are now one step closer to enjoying higher quality telecommunication signals within the village.
Insiders say the “resounding yes” would now allow the issuance of the certificates of clearance that Globe and Smart Telecom need before they can set up a total of 40 Odas in the village.
Only 130 lot owners voted against the new antennas.
“Reason prevailed over emotional ‘what-if’ speculative arguments,” said Manuel A. Dizon, vice president and member of the board of governors of the Forbes Park Association Inc. (FPA), in a text message to Inquirer Lifestyle.
Last Wednesday, members of the board of governors counted ballots submitted by property owners who were asked whether or not they supported the plan to set up more Odas within the village’s 2.5-square-kilometer area.
The democratic exercise capped months of separate guerilla campaigns held by those for and against the antennas.
Odas supporters argued that the installations were necessary, given the poor telecom signal that forces residents to rush out of their houses to finish their cell-phone conversations.
Besides, telecommunication has become a basic need in the 21st century, they added.
Naysayers, however, countered that the Odas would be a health hazard, noting that neighbors along one street in nearby Dasmariñas Village have developed cancer because of power lines set up there.
Now that the Odas issue has been officially settled, insiders are still talking about how an opposer’s “legal maneuver” caused delay in the counting of ballots and forced the FPA board of governors to conduct a separate meeting Thursday to examine some proxy votes and ballots that were being put in question.
Witnesses who chose not to be identified said eyebrows were raised after the “no” advocate claimed at the last minute to have 60 proxy votes that she submitted just before the counting of the ballots.
The opposer also reportedly demanded that she be given additional ballots to accommodate additional proxy votes.
The FPA staff failed to produce these papers because they required “voluminous” work just to be verified.
Besides, why would the opposer wait so long to submit the proxy votes if she had them way before Wednesday?
The witnesses said the integrity of the proxy votes was put in doubt because several of them had been accomplished as early as May.
It is very possible, they hinted, that the property owners who filled these out have already changed their minds about the Odas from the time the proxy ballots were filled out until the actual count last Wednesday.
Inquirer Lifestyle solicited Dizon’s comments on this matter. Dizon was not among the anonymous witnesses who talked to Inquirer Lifestyle.
“Frankly, I have no idea of her strategy, given that she had more than sufficient time … having come in and out of the FPA office during the days before the deadline,” one of Dizon’s text messages read.
He noted that the opposer also objected to the ballots submitted by the Japanese, US and Thai embassies, as well as that from the Swiss Ambassador.
Dizon said these were about 11 ballots, all voting “yes.” Other ballots not coming from the embassies but also being questioned by the opposer would be examined during the special meeting.
“Suffice it to say that even if the votes set aside were all valid, they would not be enough to overcome the majority vote already properly accounted for,” Dizon stressed.
He lamented that there was “misinformation” that the votes in question could still reverse the “yes” votes counted so far.
Dizon also fears that the board has not heard “the last from these detractors who refuse to be civil and accept a majority vote.”
Dizon added that he wished his latest comments would not spark a new word war “which our quiet neighborhood does not need. We want to be united in a most civil way, respecting our neighbor’s opinions and sensibilities, but respecting the will of the majority.” Cathy Cañares Yamsuan