23 July 2020 – The Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) titled “Streamlined Guidelines for the Issuance of Permits, Licenses and Certificates for the Construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructures (PTTIs)” was finalized earlier today via a virtual signing, making it the first JMC to adopt the use of digital signatures by government officials.

The issuance of the JMC is pursuant to the directive of the President to curb red tape and corruption, as well as to streamline the processes for the issuance of permits, licenses, and clearances, particularly with respect to Shared PTTIs. The initiative an inter-agency streamlining effort was done by agencies involved in the Telco Industry namely the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, Department of Health, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the Food and Drug Administration.

The JMC aims to prescribe the streamlined processes and requirements as to application of permits, licenses, and clearances for the construction of Shared PTTIs that will be constructed by Mobile Network Operators and Independent Tower Companies duly registered with the DICT, in order to facilitate the accelerated rollout of telecommunication infrastructure and service projects. With the signed JMC, the oversight agencies eye the reduction of the requirements and processing time for securing permits for Common Towers from nine months to just 16 days.

“The signing of the guidelines is a significant step in addressing the nation’s connectivity needs that have become more immediate because of the pandemic. The deployment of common towers, particularly in unserved and underserved areas will improve not only internet connection but also socio-economic welfare through ICT in support of the President’s “Balik Probinsiya. Balik Pag-asa” Program”, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan III said in his opening remarks.

The initiative is also part of the implementation of the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficiency Measures of Interrelated Agencies (NEHEMIA) Program of ARTA, a sectoral based inter-agency streamlining effort that aims to reduce 52 percent of processing time, costs, requirements or procedures within 52 weeks in 2020, for the key sectors of the society – the Telecommunications Sector being one of the focus sectors for the first phase of the program considering its rising importance in ease of doing business.

“Today’s event marks a momentous point in our government as we move forward together despite the pandemic. It just goes to show that there’s nothing that can stop us if we have a common goal. With this JMC, we are opening the doors to a digital future of e-governance where service is faster and better for the Filipino people.”, the ARTA czar said.

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