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Supplemental permit guidelines for telco towers up

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will issue a supplemental Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) next month to end the confusion experienced by local government units on the issuance of “permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructures (PTTIs)”.

In his recent report to the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council, ARTA director general Jeremiah Belgica acknowledged that some LGUs are still confused on how to harmonize the Bayanihan Act with some of the provisions of the JMC.

“In order to address this, we’ve been working with the other signatories to come up with a supplemental JMC to include the fiber optics and the broadcast towers,” Belgica said.

The JMC, signed in July last year, unburdened independent tower companies from multiple permitting requirements. As an increase in towers would mean an increase in speed, strength and quality of connection, more jobs and economic activities will follow.

The guidelines aimed to shorten the timeline to 16 days from the original period of more than 200 days for constructing PTTIs.

The ARTA is working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and other signatory agencies in drafting the supplemental JMC. It will also consult stakeholders from LGUs and the private sector.

The advisory council decided that ARTA would adopt the Smart City Platform through a Deed of Donation from Multisys Technologies Corp.

The LGUs will use the platform for their business permit and licensing system and all other government services. It is expected to significantly streamline the ease of doing business and anti-red tape reform initiatives through its automation features and capabilities.

“The system is already here. Any LGU can be enrolled here. The benefit of this is the customer or user experience. The application is online. Everything is online. The payment is online as well and then they’re registered,” advisory council chair and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

The ARTA will do regional campaigns with DICT and DTI to familiarize LGUs.

“This will be a voluntary thing if they want to have their own automation program. They still have until June 17, 2021 to set up their electronic business’ one-stop-shop,” Belgica added.

A technical working group will likewise evaluate the platform’s capability and efficiency, including its technical features, embedded e-bills, e-commerce, and other cost associated with its operations, and sustainability before carrying out the pilot. Manila and 52 other LGUs are using the Smart City Platform in their e-governance initiatives.*PR/PNA

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