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9-day processing for cell tower applications likely

/ 05:08 AM December 18, 2017

President Duterte is moving closer toward issuing an executive order that would cut red tape in the processing of permits for new cell towers—a common complaint of industry players PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

Eliseo Rio Jr., Acting Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, revealed the plan in a post on Facebook, a venue he often uses to make official statements.

A draft EO was sent to Malacañang earlier this year during the term of former DICT chief Rodolfo Salalima. This was meant to address the burdensome permitting process at the local government unit level.

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The plan was to cut the processing period, which could take as long as eight months, to nine days and other measures to streamline regulations. The telcos, which have drawn criticism for poor internet quality, also flagged other issues, such as the 25 LGU permits to build a single cell site and inconsistent fees.

“The DICT is working to solve this problem and in the last cabinet meeting, the President approved in principle the draft EO to eliminate red tape, endorsed by then Secretary Salalima, to be signed after some refinements are made by the Office of the President,” Rio said.

He said this would be supplemented by a public-private partnership scheme to tap private sector to build cell towers, which would be leased to the telcos.

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