7 December 2022 – President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. led the Anti-Red Tape Authority’s (ARTA) first-ever Telco Summit which aimed to harmonize the government’s streamlining and digitalization initiatives for the telecommunications sector.

“I am very happy to be able to join at this Telco Summit, which I am sure is going to be important and instrumental in realizing our vision of a truly digital Philippines. I think that it is impossible to overstate the importance of the telco industries, the importance of digitalization, the importance of improving the ease of doing business for all the plans that we have for the Philippines. And that’s why my gratitude goes to the organizers of the event, to ARTA, its partner agencies, for your shared efforts to engage stakeholders towards developing a fast and developing telecommunications system and digitalization of our systems in our country,” President Marcos’, Jr. stated in his keynote speech.

The President also encouraged relevant government agencies and the private sector partners to ensure that efforts of the government will be implemented, strengthened, and translated to a more efficient delivery of services.

“As daily consumers of information and technology, we must learn to capitalize with this sector, in order to be more productive in ways we can only imagine. It is my hope that this summit will serve as an avenue to break barriers amongst regulating agencies,” he added.

ARTA, the lead agency for the Telco Summit 2022, is an attached agency under the Office of the President that is mandated to implement Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The summit entitled “Open Data. Open Innovation. One Nation.” was in adherence to President Marcos, Jr.’s directive to improve the country’s digital infrastructures and connectivity.

During the event, regulating agencies, private stakeholders, and other experts discussed the pressing issues in the said sector. As such, key telco players, PLDT – Smart Incorporated, Converge ICT, Dito Telecommunity, and Globe, gave messages of support to the government’s programs. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), through President George T. Barcelon, was likewise present in the event.

ARTA also had a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Meralco which will facilitate the donation of computers through ARTA to local government units and national goverment agencies as beneficiaries. The partnership aims to boost the digitalization of the processing of permits and licenses in the localities.

“PBBM has directed the government to prioritize the improvement of digital infrastructures and connectivity in the country. ARTA takes His Excellency’s directive seriously and we will be pushing for streamlining reforms in the telco sector,” ARTA Director General Ernesto V. Perez stated.

During the summit, ARTA also presented the three Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMCs) that streamlined the processes and requirements in setting up telecommunications towers and poles.

According to the World Bank study, the Revised JMC No. 1, s. 2021 or Revising and Expanding JMC No. 1, s. 2020 or the Streamlined Guidelines for Permits, Licenses and Certificates for Construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure paved the way for the decrease of the number of needed permits from 13 to 8, documentary requirements from 86 to 35, and length of time for processing from 241 days to 16 days.

On the other hand, JMC No. 1, s. 2021 or the 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 Cables and Facilities of Accelerate the Roll-out of Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure, specifically on Pole Erection and Pole Attachment, has decreased the number of needed permits from 11 to 5, documentary requirements from 62 to 26, and length of time for processing time of 868 days to 74 days.  

The agency previously led the crafting of the said JMCs together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Finance (DOF), and other key government agencies.