Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020   •   289

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Telcos can now secure permits to build towers in less than a month – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it will now take less than a month to secure government permits to build telecommunication towers in the country.

The DILG made the announcement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to improve digital infrastructure in the country and to cut down the requirements and processing time for building permit applications in government agencies.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said that the new timeframe is shorter than the previous six to seven months of permit processing time.

He said the development follows the signing of a joint memorandum circular (JMC) between the DILG, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and other agencies, streamlining documentary requirements and processing time for building permit applications on shared passive telecommunication tower infrastructure (PTTI), also known as common telecommunication towers.


“Dati po inaabot ng 200 days yung pag-apply ng permit. Dito po sa bagong JMC namin kasama ang lahat ng ahensya at mga local government units (LGUs), sabay-sabay na ang pag-process, makukuha po lahat ng permit in less than a month,” Año said.

“Dati po kailangan ng home owners association resolution, kailangan pa ng sangguniang bayan resolution, ngayon, wala na po ‘yan. Di na po ‘yan kailangan. Lahat po ng steps na nagpapabagal sa proseso ay inalis na natin,” he added.

Año said that under the memorandum, LGUs and national government agencies shall only require documents stipulated in the circular and are prohibited from requiring anything else from applicant network providers. 

He said that among the reduced requirements are: barangay clearance; documentary requirements for building permit applications on common towers such as Unified Application Form for Locational Permit, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, Building Permit, property documents (owners/authorized occupants of Registered/Untitled lands, authorized occupants of registered land), and select ancillary permit and accessory permits requirements.

LGUs must also adhere to the minimum processing time enforced through the JMC. 

“According to the memorandum, the prescribed processing time for construction-related permits for common towers shall be counted from the date the complete application was submitted to the concerned agency,” the DILG chief said.

He said that in seven working days, the locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate from the Bureau of Fire, and Building Permit shall be issued all together, exclusive of the period of appeals.

If the LGU is without a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and is unable to issue a Location Clearance, Año said that the applicant may secure said Location Clearance from the regional office of DHSUD within seven days. Height Clearance Certificate shall also be issued within seven days.

He also said that application for locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, and Building Permit shall proceed without need of a written consent from home owners association or the condominium owner, among others.

If the Shared PTTI or common tower is proposed to be located on a privately-owned land within a residential subdivision, the telco shall certify that there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area.

The DILG chief said that with this development, telecommunication companies such as Globe Telecom, PLDT/Smart Communications, and third telco player Dito Telecommunity Corp., can now address the public clamor for improved telecommunications services especially during the global pandemic where millions of people are working from home.

Duterte declares July 31 a regular holiday for Eid’l Adha

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared July 31, Friday a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice of the Muslim community.

Malacañang said Duterte made the declaration through Proclamation No. 985.

The date was chosen based on the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The president also reminded the public that the observance of the event shall be subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to announce new quarantine status before August 1 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – New community quarantine classifications that would take effect in Metro Manila and other parts of the country in August will be announced by President Rodrigo Duterte before Friday, Malacañang said.

In a televised briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet this week to discuss data on the case doubling rate of the coronavirus disease as well as the critical care utilization in the country which will be submitted by the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.

Roque said the IATF will submit its recommendations for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte once appeals by the local government units on the quarantine restrictions have been finalized.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) as well as Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Talisay, Minglanilla, and Consolacion in Cebu Province, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, and Basilan in Mindanao.

Cebu City is under enhanced community quarantine while the rest of the country are placed under the more relaxed modified GCQ with strict local action.

Roque also said that “major changes” may be implemented in the government’s response against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adding that these changes will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis.

He said these changes may include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities.

As of July 28, the Philippines has recorded a total of 83,673 coronavirus infections, 55,109 of which are active cases.

The DOH said 1,678 additional cases were reported based on the total tests done by 81 of the 91 operational laboratories.

The department likewise reported 173 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 26,617. The death toll also increased to 1,947 with four new fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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