Duterte call for better telco services backed

Published July 30, 2020, 11:00 AM

by Richa Noriega

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Wednesday backed President Duterte’s call for telecommunications companies to accelerate the improvement of their services.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City on July 27, 2020.

DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II encouraged telcos to support and avail themselves of the benefits of the DICT’s Common Tower Initiative, which the department expects to stimulate the growth of the Independent Tower Company (ITC) sector and widen the base of common towers in the country toward better Internet quality and extensive telecommunications service coverage.

“We encourage telcos to take full advantage of the benefits of our common tower initiative, and engage with the ITC sector more actively, especially when it comes to providing connectivity to the unserved and underserved areas in the country,” Honasan said.

Honasan said the department maintains its position that the telcos’ collocation in the common towers that are being rolled out in the country will enable them to service a wider population and enhance wireless network coverage.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address Monday, Duterte called on concerned companies and agencies, including the DICT, to implement appropriate measures to boost connectivity, promote electronic governance (e-governance), utilize ICT for education, and toughen up the country’s cybersecurity.

“We should work together towards a better, more robust, and future-proofed ICT environment. This is in line with the spirit of bayanihan, which President Duterte clearly articulated in his SONA,” Honasan said.

The department said the common tower initiative is further bolstered by the provisions of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) between DICT, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Department of Health (DoH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It added that the JMC significantly removes red tape by streamlining the procedures and requirements for permits, licenses, clearances, certificates, and other requirements in the construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructures (PTTI) or common towers in reducing processing time from 200 days to just 16 days.

“Rest assured that the DICT is continuously implementing programs and initiatives as well as coordinating with relevant agencies and the ICT sectors in ensuring that the country is able to better utilize ICT for education and governance,” Honasan added.

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