AN ADDITIONAL 815 permits for the construction of telecommunications towers were issued by local government units (LGUs) in the last two weeks, bringing the total to 2,082 as of Thursday, November 5, 2020, according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
During the weekly briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night, Año said 637 applications remained pending.
LGUs have streamlined the procedures and reduced the requirements for telecommunications permits in response to the order of Duterte to fast track construction of the towers and boost internet connectivity.
In his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address on July 27, 2020, Duterte called out Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, the wireless arm of PLDT Inc., and warned them that they will be shut down if they don’t improve their services by December.
He had said he would run after local government officials who purposely delayed the process for the construction of cell sites to prompt telecommunications companies to pay grease money.
He has also warned local government officials that they would be charged for graft and corruption if proven to be involved in anomalies.
The Philippines currently has 17,850 cell sites, according to the 2019 3rd quarter report by TowerXChange, an informal network advisor in the market tower industry worldwide.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology earlier said the country needs at least 50,000 more cell towers to improve services. (SunStar Philippines)