All pending telco, tower applications approved after 7 days: ARTA

All pending telco, tower applications approved after 7 days: ARTA

MANILA – Following the signing of a joint memorandum circular (JMC) that streamlined the processing of requirements for common towers, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said other applications filed by telecommunications companies (telcos) and tower companies with the government shall be automatically approved after seven days.

This, after a consultation meeting between Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, tower companies, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Board of Investments (BOI), Department of Finance (DOF), and the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), and other private stakeholders was organized by ARTA on Tuesday.

In a message, ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica said in addition to explaining the provisions on the recently signed JMC on common towers, all pending applications by telcos and tower companies with local government units (LGU) and national government agencies (NGA) are deemed automatically approved after seven working days from its submission and payment of fees.

This, he said, is according to Section 15 of Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Service Act of 2018”.

“If the granting authority fails to approve or disapprove an application for a license, clearance, permit, certification, or authorization within the prescribed processing time, said application shall be deemed approved,” according to RA 11032.

When approval of a local legislative body is necessary, it prescribes an additional “non-extendible” period of 20 working days.

“That is why, during the meeting, we required the telcos and tower companies to furnish ARTA a list of all their pending applications with any LGUs or NGAs. If the application has been pending more than seven days with any LGUs or NGAs, this will be declared by ARTA as automatically approved,” Belgica said.

In addition to the automatic approval of applications that have gone past the prescribed processing time, he said ARTA will also direct the appropriate LGU or NGA to release the pending documents or permits to the applicant.

“Refusal to do so shall be a ground for the filing of an administrative case. If there will be illegal fixers and fixing involved then a criminal case shall be pursued as well,” Belgica said.

He added that ARTA, DILG, and DICT will meet with the League of Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities in the coming days to further discuss the new JMC and the automatic approval of all pending applications.

On July 23, several NGAs signed JMC No. 01 s. 2020 or the “Streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure”.

The DICT said the JMC will shorten the processing of requirements and construction of common towers in the country from the previous average of 200 days to only 16 days. (PNA)

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