During President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president threatened telco companies of expropriation if they cannot improve their services by December this year.
Globe Telecom executive, Ernest Cu explained that telcos need to get 25 to 30 permits from the local government units (LGU) to build one telecommunications tower. Aside from the tedious process, it is also quite time-consuming as the waiting time is an average of eight (8) months.
With this, Duterte demanded government agencies to hasten the process. During a televised address, the president also urged the telcos to report government officials involved in corrupt practices in the processing of tower applications. He also instructed agencies to act on the said red tape complaints and ordered that the said issue be resolved before the end of his term in 2022.
Aside from the permits and processing time, another factor to consider is the miscellaneous fees and other types of tower fees that telcos are paying in the LGUs.
In response, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in coordination with other agencies have signed a joint memorandum circular that will streamline the process of the construction of towers. The said policy aims to provide independent tower companies (ITCs).
The DICT said that certificates will be easier to get as it will be provided by the Office of the Building Official as opposed to the Certificate of Occupancy which has stricter requirements. Also, securing permits in the construction of towers is seen to cut to only 16 days from over 200 days.
Moreover, there will be no height clearance permit for towers below 50 meters outside of CAAP critical areas near airports from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The DICT also mentioned that it will check closely with LGU’s permitting process. Likewise, LGUs are no longer allowed to require documents or clearances other than specified in the joint circular.