Streamlined application rules as Duterte orders to fast-track cell site construction

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 31) — The Department of Interior and Local Government said Friday that it has streamlined the application process for the construction of shared cellular sites, in compliance with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte.

DILG chief Eduardo Año told Duterte during their meeting which was taped and televised on Friday his office signed a joint memorandum with other agencies to reduce the requirements for the building of “shared passive telecom tower infrastructure” on July 22.

The official said that by virtue of the memorandum, telcos are no longer required to submit some documents such as the Homeowners’ Association resolution, which may cut the time it takes to secure the necessary permits, clearances, and licences — from 200 days to just up to 20 days.

Año assured Duterte that they will monitor the compliance of local governments with the new administrative procedures.

In the same meeting, Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu lamented the long process for permit applications for cell towers, saying it's costly and time-consuming. He added they have been experiencing this “for many, many years” now.

Cu told the President that it takes about 25 to 29 permits and eight months to build a single tower.

'Isumbong mo'

Duterte claimed the tedious process is caused by those engaged in “corruption,” as he urged telecommunications firms to report local officials who may be trying to delay the approval of necessary permits for cell site construction.

“Alam mo, you can ask Bong and the business can ask Sonny Dominguez, kay — the generals, kay Secretary Año, isumbong na lang ninyo diretso,” the President told Cu.

[Translation: You can report them directly to Bong Go, Sec. Sonny Dominguez.]

In his 5th State of the Nation Address, Duterte threatened to expropriate Globe and Smart if they fail to improve their services by December.

Duterte said Cu reached out to him after he made the warning. The President said he told the Globe executive that he will “hang” him in one of their towers if no improvement was made. He recalled Cu told him he cannot do that because they lack cell towers, to which he said he agreed.