Harmonized guidelines on tower permits readied

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    BELGICA

    The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will issue by next month a supplemental joint memorandum circular (JMC) that will harmonize requirements in securing permits for the construction of telecommunication towers.

    This was after complaints that some local government units (LGUs) continue to impose requirements that have either been waived or simplified by previous orders.

    ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica in a statement said supplemental JMC will clarify the application of an earlier JMC on permitting process for the application of towers and will align the policies as they apply to the provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover One Act or Bayanihan 2.

    The new JMC will be signed with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and other agencies.

    DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II in a separate statement said the agency will continue to coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to help ensure that the telco’s rollout plans are complied with in a timely manner.

    Belgica and Honasan welcomed a recent Ookla report that showed the Philippines moved up 25 placed to 86th in the global mobile internet speed rankings in January 2021 from its 111th in the same period last 2020.

    The officials partly attributed the improved ranking to the ramped up rollout by telco companies following simplified processing of permits.

    JMC issued in July 2020 by ARTA, DICT and other agencies streamlined the permits system and reduced the processing time from 8 to 9 months to not more than 16 days.

    Bayanihan 2 further streamlined and pushed this same initiative further when it set at a minimum what permits and licenses may be required from telco companies building their cell site.

    “There are some LGUs seeking clarification on the implementation of the JMC with the Bayanihan 2. One example is the Bayanihan 2 mentioned that only building permit will be required but some LGUs interpret it to mean other elaborate requirements for a building permits will still be imposed,” Belgica said.

    Globe Telecom recently bared some LGUS still require telcos to submit locational clearances, conformity to local ordinances, Sangguniang Panlungsod Resolution, Neighbors Consent, and Barangay Resolution in granting permits which are no longer required under the Bayanihan Act 2.

    “We are in communication with Globe, Smart Communication and Dito Telecommunity on the implementation concerns with these certain LGUs so we can address them in the supplemental JMC,” Belgica said in a statement.

    He added most LGUs have no issues which resulted to more than 10,000 permits where issued from the issuance of the JMC on July23 until December 2020.

    The Ookla report said for fixed broadband, the country’s average download speed was recorded at 32.73 Mbps. The country retained its 100th ranking in the fixed broadband global average category.

    Additionally, compared to December 2020, the Ookla January 2021 results witnessed a 4.10% increase from 31.44 Mbps (fixed broadband), and 14.53 percent from 22.50 Mbps (mobile). Irma Isip