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Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA)

LGUs asked to release pending telco applications 

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The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) issued compliance orders to local government units (LGUs) to release all pending applications of telecommunications companies for the installation and operation of telecommunication broadcast towers, facilities, equipment and service.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica has received from the telco and tower companies the list of their pending license, clearance, permit, certification, or authorization applications with complete requirements and fully paid.

He said upon validation and review, applications that will be found to have exceeded the seven days with all necessary requirements will be declared automatically approved by operation of law, referring to Section 15 of Republic Act 11032.

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, based on the report of Smart Communications, were confirmed to have been fully paid with complete documents. Smart said more applications are being verified while Globe is yet to submit its list.

To properly monitor the compliance of the LGUs with prescribed processing period, all LGUs will be directed to submit a compliance report within three working days from receipt of the 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’ councils.

“We want to remind everyone that he 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 (national government agencies) 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 administrative and criminal cases to be filed. So let us follow,” Belgica said.

The compliance order was issued following the signing of joint memorandum circular (JMC) No. 1 between ARTA, Department of Communication and Technology, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Human Settlements and Urban Development, Department of Transportation-Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Department of Health-Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Public Works and Highway-National Building Official.

The JMC, which will take effect on August 20, aims to streamline the telco permitting process by cutting the processing time from 241 days to just 16 days and reducing documentary requirements from 86 to 36.

Last year, ARTA, by operation of the law, declared automatic approval for 3,120 pending applications from Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and 3,125 pending applications for renewal from FDA. 

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