Over 1,500 telco applications with LGUs approved after Duterte's warning, says Año
The local government units have already approved over 1,500 applications of various telecommunication firms for this year, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday night.
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City, Año said following the order of the Chief Executive, his office conducted an inventory of all the LGUs where there are pending telco applications for 2020.
He said four telco companies - the Touch Mobile, Globe Telecommunication, Smart Community, and Dito Telecommunity Corporation - and other small firms, such as Huawei, which have pending applications before various LGUs.
"There are 55 provinces and 25 cities, so 80 LGUs. The total applications are 1,930. There were 1,502 which were already approved," he said.
There were 428 remaining pending applications, he said, adding that his office is monitoring the pending applications to ensure that they would be approved immediately.
Año noted that in the old system, approval of telco applications took 241 days for 19 permits and 86 document requirements.
"Now, under the new system that you are implementing, (the processing) is now 16 days and only eight permits are needed, requiring 35 documents," he said.
He said he will personally monitor the development on the pending applications next week.
If they would not be approved, Año said he should know the reason.
During his fifth State of the Nation Address last month, Duterte gave the two major telcos - Smart Communications and Globe Telecom - until December to improve their services, otherwise, the government would expropriate them.
But in a meeting with the President, a Globe executive said they could not proceed with the construction of their towers because of the many requirements and high fees being collected by the LGUs. The official said Smart Communications could have a similar problem.
This prompted Duterte to order the Department of Interior and Local Government to stop corruption on the part of the LGUs. Celerina Monte/DMS