11 August 2020 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), by operation of Section 15 of R.A. 11032, is issuing compliance orders to select Local Government Units (LGUs) directing them to release all pending license, clearance, permit, certification, or authorization applications of telecommunication companies for the installation and operation of telecommunication broadcast towers, facilities, equipment, and service which have exceeded the prescribed seven-day processing period and with complete requirements.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica has received from the telco and tower companies the list of their pending applications with complete requirements and that was fully paid which was requested during the previous consultation. Upon validation and review, applications that will be found to have exceeded the 7-day period with all necessary requirements will be declared automatically approved by operation of law.

The first batch of compliance orders were sent to Puerto Princesa City and Rizal in Palawan, Miag-ao, Cabatuan, Estancia, and Leon in Iloilo, Kalibo in Aklan, Masbate City, Bulan in Sorsogon, Canaman in Camarines Sur, and San Jose in Occidental Mindoro. These LGUs we’re confirmed to have been fully paid with complete documents. According to SMART, more applications are being verified. Meanwhile, Globe is yet to submit their list.

To properly monitor the compliance of the LGUs with the prescribed processing period, all LGUs will be directed to submit a compliance report within the period of three (3) working days from receipt of the said order. The compliance report shall contain the list of all approved and pending applications, with corresponding reasons to such pendency, as well as those requiring approval from the LGUs’ Sanggunian.

“We want to remind everyone that the submitted applications with the LGUs that have been pending are deemed automatically approved by law if unacted upon within 7 working days from its complete submission and payment of all required fees. There is no more choice for the LGUs or NGAs but to issue the appropriate permits because it was already approved by Congress itself. Refusal to follow this very clear provision of the law will lead to Admin and Criminal Cases to be filed. Kaya sumunod po tayong lahat!”, the ARTA czar emphasized.

This compliance order follows the signing of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020 between ARTA, DICT, DILG, DHSUD, DOTr-CAAP, DOH-FDA, and DPWH-NBO that aims to streamline the telco permitting process. It cuts the processing time form 241 days to 16 days only and reduces documentary requirements from 86 to 35. The JMC will be effective on August 20, 2020.

Last year, ARTA, by operation of law, declared automatic approval for 3,120 pending applications from LTFRB and 3,125 pending applications for renewal from FDA.