The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Digital Infrastructure Sector, in adherence to His Excellency President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s prioritized economic agenda objective of improving national internet connectivity, call for the issuance of an Executive Order to institutionalize the ARTA Telecommunications Sector initiatives that took effect through Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMC):

JMC No. 1, s. 2020: “Streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure”

Revised JMC No. 1, s. 2021; “Revised and expanded streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure”

JMC No. 1, s. 2021: “Streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits and clearances for the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts, and installation of aerial and underground cable and facilities to accelerate the rollout of telecommunications and internet infrastructure”

The implementation of said JMCs since July 2020 have produced significant results, especially in the number of telco permits approved. Comparing the pre-reform and post-reform periods, there were only 7,902 permits approved from July 2019 to June 2020, while 36,264 permits were approved from July 2020 to June 2021. In just one year of implementation, the ARTA telco initiative increased approved telco permits by 358.92%.

Furthermore, according to a World Bank study, the revised JMC No. 1, s. 2021 reduced the number of documentary requirements from 86 to 35, and the turnaround time from 241 working days to 16 working days; while the implementation of JMC No. 1, s. 2021 reduced the number of documentary requirements from 62 to 26, and the turnaround time from 868 to 74 working days.

The PSAC lauds the national government agencies and local government units that implemented these JMCs that have fast-tracked the approval of necessary telco permits.

With the impending expiration of the subject JMCs next year, and their proven effectiveness in curtailing government red tape and accelerating the delivery of telecommunications and internet services, PSAC and ARTA jointly express their strong endorsement and support for an Executive Order prescribing the continuance of the JMCs.

This collaboration between ARTA and PSAC is a first step towards universal connectivity to ensure so that no Filipino is left behind.