MANILA - The Department of Information and Communications Technology said Monday local government units have approved the building permits of some 1,500 cell towers.
At least 77.8 percent or 1,502 out of the 1,930 pending tower applications for the year in 55 provinces and 25 cities have been approved by local government units, DICT said, citing data from the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The support of local government units will hasten the roll-out of cell towers, the DICT said.
“This is a welcome development in our mission to improve internet connectivity and access in our country. DICT is grateful to LGUs for their cooperation, and also to the DILG for their support in this endeavor,” said DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his 5th State of the Nation Address, threatened to shut and expropriate telcos if there are no improvements by December.
Globe President Ernest Cu, however, told the President that some LGUs and the long permitting process hinder the construction of telco towers.
The government has signed a memorandum streamlining the requirements in securing permits and licenses in building shared telco towers, reducing the process to 16 from 200 days, the DICT said.
The measure is also in accordance with the “Ease of Doing Business” law.
Tower builders can now apply online under the DICT’s platform, it said.
The DICT said it has signed agreements with 24 tower companies and has received letters of intent from 13 others, mostly foreign-owned.
Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc’s Smart have 20,000 towers combined, the DICT said. Third telco DITO Telecommunity committed to build at least 1,300 towers before its commercial launch next year.
Towers in the Philippines could "potentiallly" reach 23,230 by 2020 from 17,000 in February 2019, the DICT said.
Former DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio earlier said the government wanted some 50,000 telco towers to be built in the next few years.