In Naga City: Councilor pushes for underground cabling

By Jason B. Neola


Five years from now, power lines and telecommunication cables in Naga City will be installed underground, an innovation that will spare them from the brunt of calamities frequenting the Bicol region and the city.


Councilor Joselito S.A. Del Rosario, author of the proposed Underground Cabling Ordinance of Naga City, said the novel local legislation forms part of the wide-ranging agenda of the city government on disaster resiliency that needs to get done in partnership with other stakeholders.


The ordinance, which will be presented first at the Committee on Public Utilities, with stakeholders in attendance, before being deliberated upon at the Sangguniang plenary for enactment, identified Central Business Districts I and II, the Balatas New Development Site, Diversion Area Development Center, and the Almeda Highway Centrum as priority areas for underground cabling.


The Inter-Agency Task Force created in City Ordinance 2021-047 will recommend to the city mayor other priority areas to be considered for similar purpose.


Other powers of the task force, include: conduct of strategic planning and recommend plans of action pertaining to underground cabling; provide guidelines, subject to the approval of the city mayor, for one-stop-shop to process applications for permits to excavate, use the sidewalk, and manage traffic during diggings, and;


Conduct regular planning meetings and coordinating mechanisms with concerned entities and private stakeholders to encourage single excavation and avoid the scale and number of repeated excavations for installation and maintenance of broadband infrastructure.


The proposed ordinance’s final provision said that within 6 months after its effectivity, the task force with participation of the cable and telecommunication companies, shall formulate implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the measure.


Del Rosario said that although the planned underground cabling can be expected to start next year, it is only appropriate to enact the ordinance this year so that the stakeholders can make the needed preparations, especially the power, telecommunication, and cable industries that have to include in their capital outlay the expenditures on underground cabling project.


“I know that this [underground cabling] will take a longer time to undertake. What we need to do right now is to send the message to concerned stakeholders that the city has started setting the policy that will give way to the realization of this gargantuan project,” the councilor said.