President Rodrigo Duterte has warned all local government chief executives throughout the country to act swiftly on the application of telecommunication companies for tower building permission, or face “the most drastic consequence” for the cell site delays.
In a COVID-19 briefing in Malacañang, a visibly irked President was threshing out ways on how to improve the internet connectivity for the country’s online learning when informed that the LGUs form part of the ‘bigger problem’ on cellular tower construction.
“We are suffering from this problem of infrastructure construction delay for many, many years, even before your administration, 25-29 permits will take us eight months to secure... aside from different kinds of tower fees and special land use permits,” lamented Ernest Cu, Globe Telecom’s president and CEO, who was part of the audience in the COVID-19 briefing with the President.
In response, Duterte said: “You can ask Bong (Sen. Go), or Dominguez (Finance Secretary), or the Generals, or Sec. Año. Just lodge your complaint directly... because my order to the Cabinet now is to take the most drastic measure they can find.”
“This is my last mile, I make no apologies about it,” stressed Duterte.
Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, who was also in the same briefing, assured the telco executives that his agency would ensure the President’s order to speed up the processing and releasing of all digital infrastructure construction clearances and permits.
“From 200 days down to 20 or 16 days, or even less. That’s our target from filing to the releasing of the building permit application,” said Año, referring to the shortened processing time under a new national government memorandum circular.
The DILG chief said: “We will make sure that all local government units and other agencies involved in the permitting of the cellular towers and digital infrastructures will strictly follow the fast-tracking of the approval.”