February 6, 2023

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) reminded government agencies, particularly local government units, to streamline the processing of requirements and avoid delays in the construction of new telecommunication towers in the country.
ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the appeal after President Rodrigo Duterte warned in his fifth State of the Nation Address that the country’s two major telecommunication firms may face closure if they fail to improve their services by December this year.
In reaction to Duterte’s SONA, Belgica said ARTA’s special task force will monitor the compliance of government agencies, especially LGUs, with the provisions of a joint memorandum circular, which streamlines the permitting process for construction of additional telecommunication towers in the country.
“Sa mga LGU at sa iba pang mga ahensiyang kasama, huwag po natin silang pahirapan at sumunod po tayo sa lahat ng direktiba ng ating Pangulong pabilisin ang Internet sa buong bansa,” Belgica said.
On July 23, the ARTA and the Department of Information and Communications Technology led the signing of JMC that seeks to cut down the processing time of requirements for the construction of telco towers from an average of eight months to approximately 16 days across the different national government agencies and LGUs.
The circular also intends to reduce the required documents from 86 to 35.
Duterte said he would take “drastic steps” against Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc., the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc. if they do not improve their services by yearend.
Experts, Belgica said, have noted that around 50,000 common towers must be built to improve the Internet connection in the Philippines.
Belgica assured telco firms that the processing of requirements for new common towers would be “simpler.”
He added those who fail to comply with JMC will be investigated and slapped with cases if need be.
He said the government is also preparing for a digital transformation that would allow the public to avail of online services from state offices and departments. – PNA release