Duterte asks telcos to report to Cabinet LGUs hampering building of cell sites
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the telecommunication firms to report to the Cabinet officials the local government units which would hamper the building of their cell sites.
In a taped televised meeting on Thursday night aired on Friday morning, Duterte acknowledged the corruption at the LGUs.
"The local governments are all f****** it up, that's why," he said.
"It's really corruption. You know, you can ask (Senator Christopher) Bong (Go) and the business can ask (Finance Secretary Carlos) Sonny Dominguez - the generals, (Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Eduardo) Año, report directly and my order to the Cabinet now is to really take the heaviest, the most drastic measure that you can find so that we can understand each other," Duterte said.
"This is my last mile. I make no apologies," he added.
During his fifth State of the Nation Address, Duterte warned the two giant telecommunication firms - Globe Telecom and PLDT-Smart Communications - that the government would expropriate them if they fail to improve their services by December.
In the meeting on Thursday in Malacañang, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu was present.
Cu lamented that for many years, even before the Duterte administration, they have to secure up to 30 permits for eight months and to pay various miscellaneous fees and permits before they could build a cell site.
"We can't standardize that. In one year, for us to build 1,500 towers, which is a record for Globe, and I think PLDT built the same amount, we need to start triple the amount or quadruple," he said.
Cu said there were instances that they did not know if they want to push through in building the towers because of the many permits that they have to secure first.
"So, just think, Sir, if we're applying 5,000 towers times 28 or 30 permits, how many thousands permits we are going to get before we can start (the construction)," Cu explained to Duterte.
Año said the DILG and other concerned government recently signed a Joint Memorandum Circular to fast-track the application of licenses, permits and clearances for shared passive telecom tower infrastructure.
He noted that previously, it took about 200 days to process the application for a permit.
Under the JMC, the official said the target days to process the permits will be 16 to 20 days.
He assured that all the LGUs, which are under the DILG supervision, and the other agencies will comply with the shorter number of days in approving the licenses, permits and clearances. Celerina Monte/DMS