ARTA to approve pending telco, tower applications

August 06, 2020

Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Jeremiah Belgica said a new joint memorandum circular  automatically approving all pending applications for common towers with the local government units would be issued soon.

This is pursuant to the directive of President Duterte to fast-track transactions in government offices.

Duterte, in his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address, has threatened telecommunications firms to be shut down if they wouldl not improve their services by December.

But telecommunication firms said they faced delays in improving their infrastructure at LGU level as applications for permits have remained pending.

“In the coming days, ARTA, DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) shall be meeting with the League of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities to further discuss with them the new JMC and the automatic approval of all pending applications for common towers with the different LGUs,” Belgica said.

He clarified that the new JMC that is yet to be signed would only automatically approve pending applications for telecommunication firms.

“ARTA will be declaring pending applications with complete submissions as automatically approved by operation of law,” he said.

The ARTA chief added that under the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Service Act of 2018 or the EODB law, “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”.

The EODB law states that processing of licenses and permits in barangay, LGU, and national government agency levels “shall be a total of seven working days”.

“When the approval of the appropriate local legislative body is necessary, a non-extendible period of 20 working days is hereby prescribed,” Belgica said.

He said ARTA had a consultation meeting with telecommunication and tower companies.

They were asked to submit to ARTA all their pending applications with LGUs and NGAs, he added.

“If the application has been pending more than seven days with any LGUs or NGAs, this will be declared by ARTA as automatically approved. At the same time, ARTA will be directing the LGU or NGA to release the pertinent documents or permits to the private applicant,” Belgica said.