4 August 2020 – On his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week, President Duterte had directed the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), along with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Budget Management, and other government agencies, to lead the transition to a paper-less government through e-governance and to fast-track the processing of permits for telco companies to provide faster internet across the nation.

Today, ARTA is meeting with Common Tower providers to conduct a stakeholder consultation that aims to gather inputs and identify ways forward towards the effective implementation of the recently signed Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC). Among the issues to be discussed are the challenges of the Common Tower providers in securing permits at the LGU level and the imposition of exorbitant regulatory fees.

As part of the NEHEMIA Program and alongside DICT, ARTA led the signing of a JMC which cuts down the process from an average of eight months to approximately 16 days across different national government agencies and local government units (LGUs). ARTA also formed a special task force that will strictly enforce the compliance of government agencies with this memorandum circular and with the provisions of R.A. 11032.

In relation to this, the ARTA chief calls on: “Kaya nanawagan po tayo sa mga telco at tower companies na inayos at pina simple na po natin ang proseso, kaya gawin na po natin ang mga towers. Gayun din naman sa mga LGUs at iba pang ahensyang kasama, huwag po natin silang pahirapan at sumunod po tayong lahat sa direktiba ng ating Pangulong pabilisin ang internet sa buong bansa”.

Following today’s stakeholders’ meeting, ARTA, in partnership with the DICT, will conduct meetings with the League of Provinces, League of Cities, League of Municipalities, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines later in the week.