Over 1,000 telco tower permits approved, Año says

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DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday, October 5, 2020, that 1,170 permits for the construction of telecommunication towers have already been approved nationwide.

During the weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte Monday evening, Año said the local government units (LGUs) have complied with the President’s order to fast track the process for the construction of cellular towers, or cell sites, in a bid to address the clamor for faster internet connectivity.

"The world and the country have gone digital so kailangan po talaga natin itong pag-layout ng mga towers because sa klase natin puro online classes. Last week po noong nag-usap tayo, 574 po ‘yung na-approve. Tumaas po ito, naging 1,171 this week. So ibig sabihin po doble po,” he said during the meeting, which was broadcast late Monday night.

“Ang natira na lang po ay 428 applications, puro bago na po ito. So ibig sabihin po ay complying at very commendatory po ‘yung Manila LGU under Mayor Isko kasi ginawa nila one time lahat talaga po ay in-approve nila, so no more pending in Manila. So I hope all other LGUs will follow,” he added.

On August 11, however, Año also said there were 428 remaining applications and 1,502 have been approved out of 1,930 applications.

Read: Regulatory process trimmed for cell tower projects

Año reiterated Monday that the application process has been shortened to 16 days. Several requirements have also been scrapped to make it easier for telecommunications companies to comply, as provided for under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

Telecommunications companies now have no reason to delay projects to improve their capacities, he added.

“May isang provision po dito sa Bayanihan 2, ang automatic rollout ng telcos sa pagtatayo ng PTTIs or passive telecom tower infrastructure. Ni-waive na po lahat ng mga requirements dito except building permit and night clearance permit,” he said.

Earlier, Año said only eight permits and 35 documents are needed and are processed within 16 days.

The regulatory process used to take 241 days and required 19 permits with 86 documentary requirements.

Duterte had directed Año to address the complaint of telecommunications companies about the red tape that has delayed construction of additional cell towers.

Globe Telecom Inc. president Ernest Cu brought the matter to the President’s attention after Duterte lambasted Globe and Smart Communications Inc. in his State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2020 over the poor telecommunications services in the country.

Duterte had then warned Globe and Smart, the wireless arm of PLDT Inc., to improve their services by December or they will be cancelled.

He also said he would run after local government officials who purposely delayed the process for the construction of cell sites in order so the applicants would pay grease money. (SunStar Philippines


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