COMPANIES can now secure permits to build telecommunication towers in less than a month, as government agencies have passed a joint memorandum circular (JMC) that streamlines the documentary requirements and processing for telecom tower building permit applications.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it signed the JMC along with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) and other national government agencies (NGAs) in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's call for telecom companies to improve digital infrastructure in the country.
The President made the call during his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) last July 27.
Previously, it takes six to seven months to secure government permits to build telecommunications towers in the country.
"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," said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
(Before, it takes 200 days to apply for a permit. In our JMC, the processing is streamlined and applicants will now get the permits in less than a month)
"Dati po kailangan ng homeowners 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 (Homeowners association and Municipal Council resolutions are needed before, but we removed them already)," he added.
With this development, Año said telecommunication companies such as Globe Telecom, PLDT/Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity Corp., the third telco player, can now address the public clamor for improved telecommunication services especially during the global pandemic where millions of people are working from home.
He urged the telecom companies to "seize this opportunity to improve their services to the Filipino people," majority of whom rely on internet and telecommunication services in their daily life.
"I hope they take this golden opportunity to further improve their service to the public," he said.
Aside from the DILG and ARTA, the JMC was also signed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Public Works and Highways, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Department of Health, and Food and Drug Administration.
"Sinisigurado po namin na ang mga LGU at ang mga ahensiya ay susunod mga pamantayan na mas mabilis na pag-proseso ng licences, permits at saka clearances," said Año.
Under the JMC, local government units (LGUs) and NGAs shall only require documents stipulated in the memorandum and are prohibited from requiring anything else from applicant network providers.
Among the reduced requirements are: barangay clearance, and 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.
The 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," said Año.
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 has no Comprehensive Land Use Plan and is unable to issue a Location Clearance, the applicant may secure the said clearance from the regional office of DHSUD within seven days. Height Clearance Certificate shall also be issued within seven days.
Application for locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, and Building Permit shall also proceed without need of a written consent from home owners association or the condominium owner, among others.
If the shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure 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, added the DILG. (LMY/With PR)