More LGUS told to fast-track release of telco applicatio­ns

- By Samuel P. Medenilla @sam_medenilla

The Anti-red Tape Authority (Arta) on Thursday said it issued compliance orders to 44 local government units (LGU), which failed to immediatel­y release permits to telecommun­ication companies for the constructi­on of new communicat­ion towers.

Of the said the affected Lgus, Arta Director General Jeremiah Belgica said 21 have already submitted the necessary compliance report covering 52 permit applicatio­ns, which the agency deemed automatica­lly


Belgica noted the other 23 Lgus, which have contested Arta’s compliance order.

“It is either [they claimed] they did not get any applicatio­n [from telecommun­ication companies], it is still pending, or the requiremen­ts or payment for it is yet to be completed,” Belgica said in a online interview with PTV on Thursday.

The Arta chief said the agency has scheduled a summary hearing next week to iron out these issues.

Lgus, which will refuse to comply with Arta's compliance order, will face charges under Republic Act 11032 or the ease of Doing Business Law.

“If they will refuse...that is the time they could be charged, suspended, or remove [from office] if they will do it multiple times. This is the clear directive [from the President] and with the help of the DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government], we will implement this," Belgica said.

Arta said telecommun­ication companies have submitted to the agency 1,571 pending permit applicatio­ns for the constructi­on of new communicat­ion towers. however, Beligica said they found only 122 of the said applicatio­ns are pending with Lgus.

In July the Arta signed with various agencies a joint memorandum circular that cuts processing time to 16 days, from 241 days, and reduces documentar­y requiremen­ts to 35, from 86, for the applicatio­n of permits, licenses and certificat­es needed to build telco towers.

During his fifth State of the Nation Address last month, President Duterte vowed to improve the country's telecommun­ication services before he steps down from office in 2022.

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