Poe urges DICT, telcos to submit plans for improving internet service
Aileen Cerrudo • July 9, 2020 • 249
Senator Grace Poe is urging the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and telecommunication companies (Telcos) to submit by July 13 their plan on improving internet service in the country.
Poe wants to determine how many more towers telcos plan to build in the coming years to give the Filipinos better online experience especially with the high demand for better internet service due to effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Agencies and telcos need a nudge to act as fast as they can to bring the internet to everyone’s homes,” she said.
A boost in connectivity would also help students and teachers with online learning, Poe added. It is also crucial for businesses that operate through online transactions.
“Nararanasan nating lahat ang mababang kalidad ng ating connection, kaya importante talaga na ang mga telco ay mag-deliver sa kanilang pangako na magpatayo ng mas maraming cell site (We have all experienced poor internet connection that is why it is important for telcos to deliver on their promise to build more cell sites),” she said. AAC
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.
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.)
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to launch 20 free wifi sites in Isabela and Lamitan in Basilan on Tuesday (June 30).
DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II cited the importance of connectivity and access especially while the country copes with the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It has become the lifeblood of our society, providing a sense of normalcy in our lives. And with that, it is your DICT’s duty to ensure the whole country are afforded this right, including the remotest part of the country. It is our duty to ensure the country safely transition to the new normal,” he said.
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