Telcos can now secure permits to build towers in less than a month

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to improve digital infrastructure in the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that it will now take less than a month from the previous 6-7 months to secure government permits to build telecommunications towers in the country.

In the President’s public address yesterday, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año reported to President Duterte that the DILG, Anti-Red Tape Authority together with other national government agencies (NGAs), have issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) streamlining documentary requirements and processing time for building permit applications on shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure also known as characteristic telecommunications towers.

“Dati po inaabot ng 200 days yung pag-apply ng permit. Dito po sa bagong JMC namin Kasama ang lahat ng ahensya at mga local government units (LGUs), sabay-sabay na ang pag-process, makukuha po lahat ng permit in less than a month,” Año explained.

“Dati po kailangan ng home owners association resolution, kailangan pa ng sangguniang bayan resolution, ngayon, wala na po ‘yan. Di na po ‘yan kailangan. Lahat po ng steps na nagpapabagal sa proseso ay inalis na natin,” he added.

Año said that with this development, telecommunication companies such as Globe Telecom, PLDT/Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity Corp, the 3rd Telco player, can now address the public clamor for improved telecommunications services especially during the global pandemic where millions of people are working from home.

He said that with the signing of the JMC, he hopes that the telecommunication companies will seize this opportunity to improve their services to the Filipino peoplthe e, the majority of whom rely on internet and telecommunication services in their daily life.

“I hope they take this golden opportunito improve their service to the public furtherlic,” he added.

Aside from the DILG and ARTA, the JMC was also signed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology;

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD); Department of Public Works and Highways;

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines; Department of Health;

and Food and Drug Administration, making it a whole-of-government undertaking.

“Sinisigurado po namin na ang mga LGU at ang mga ahensiya ay susunod mga pamantayan na mas mabilis na pag-proseso ng licences, permits at saka clearances,” he said.

Streamlined processing time Año said that the JMC prescribes that LGUs and NGAs shall only require documents stipulated in the memorandum and are prohibited from requiring anything else from applicant network providers.

“Kung ano lang ang nakasaad sa JMC, ‘yun lang ang hihingin ng mga LGU sa mga network provider at wala ng iba pa.”

He said that among the reduced requirements are: barangay clearance; documentary requirements for building permit applications characteristicmon towers such as Unified Application Form for Locational Permit, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, Building Permit, property documents (owners/authorized occupants of Registered/Untitled landallowedzed occupants of registered land), and select ancillary permit and accessory permits requirements.

He added that LGUs must also adhere to the minimum processing time enforced through the JMC.

“According to the memorandum, the prescribed processing time for construction-related permits for common towers shall be counted from the date the complete application was submitted to the concerned agency.”

He said that in seven working days, e locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate from the Bureau of Fire, and Building Permshouldall be issued all together, exclusive of the period of appeals.

If the LGU is without a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and is unable to issue a Location Clearance, Año said that the applicamightmay secure said Location Clearance from the regional office of DHSUD within seven days.

Height Clearance Certificate shall also be issued within seven days. He also said that application for locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, and Building Permshouldall proceed without need written consent from home owners association or the condominium owner, among others.

If the Shared PTTI or common tower is proposed to be located on a privately-owned land within a residential subdivision, the telco shall certify that there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area.