Duterte to meet with AFP, PNP commanders following Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020   •   402

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.

Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.

The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.

“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.

Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.

He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.

The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.

“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

‘Shoot to kill’ threat of QC exec improper, illegal – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday blasted the head of the Quezon City Task Force Disiplina for supposedly making a “shoot to kill” threat against violators of quarantine protocols in the city.

In a statement, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the remark allegedly made by Rannie Ludovica was “improper and illegal” as he advised him to refrain from issuing similar statements in the future.

“While we strongly believe that discipline is one of the preventive measures to stop the transmission of the coronavirus, this must be enforced within the bounds of the law and the DILG will not tolerate any possible abuse of authority on the part of law enforcement agencies or enforcement units of local government units,” Malaya said.

“The penalties to be imposed by local government units against quarantine violators must be within the bounds of their respective ordinances,” he added.

The DILG official also said that the Quezon City government has disowned the alleged FB post of Ludovica, saying that “it should not be taken literally, if true, and that it was merely an expression of frustration over the growing number of violations in Quezon City.

“Nonetheless, LGU department heads must be circumspect in their social media posts since this may be mistaken by their constituents as official LGU policy,” Malaya said.

In a separate statement posted on his social media account, Ludovica said his post was personal and that the city government has no shoot to kill policy against quarantine violators.

“Nagmula ang nasabing personal na Facebook post ng inyong lingkod sa aking pagkadismaya sa pagbalik natin mula sa GCQ to MECQ. Patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng COVID-19 sa lungsod at buong bansa dahil sa kawalan ng disiplina ng karamihan sa ating mga mamamayan at paglabag nila sa batas,” he said.

He also called on the public to strictly follow health protocols to help curb the transmission of the virus.

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 tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

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.)

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