Imee: LGUs not solely to blame for delayed telco towers

Published December 7, 2020, 3:05 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Local government units (LGUs) should not be blamed alone for the delayed or turtle-paced installation of telecommunications towers in the country designed to make wider coverage and faster Internet speed, Sen. Imee R. Marcos said today.

Senator Imee R. Marcos (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

More often than not, the blame could also be laid at the doorsteps of telecommunications companies (telcos) for their incomplete submission of application documents for the construction of cell towers, Marcos, a former Ilocos Norte governor, said during a public hearing on the state of Philippine telecommunication situation conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.

 Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, lamented that telcos build cell towers in town areas but not in ‘’missionary’’ areas.

‘”It is not always fault of the LGUs,’’ she said.

In a recent Senate Committee on National Defense hearing, a communist rebel returnee, Jeffrey Celiz, testified that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) collect as much as P200 million a year as ‘’protection’’ for the cell towers of telco giants Smart and Globe.

In the Bayanihan 2 law, Malacanang was authorized to shorten the long application process from more than 30 signatures to very few and  approval of applications from months to just a few days.

Senate Minority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri stressed the need for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to bring to the attention of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) complaints that one of the causes of the delay in the application processes is the Sangguniang Bayan itself.

This increases the application period to from three to six months.

This despite the passage of the Anti-Red Tape Act and the Ease of Doing Business Act, Zubiri added.