The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said that some local government units (LGUs) are still confused about harmonizing the provisions of the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2) with processes of issuing permits during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the statement days ahead of the release of a supplemental Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of telecommunications towers.
In a statement, Belgica said ARTA will be undertaking more measures to ease the confusion among the LGUs so the country can further improve its internet connectivity.
“Even if we are happy with the results of the recent improvement in our internet speed ranking, there are still some LGUs who are quite confused on how to harmonize the Bayanihan provisions with some of the provisions of the JMC,” he said.
“In order to address this, we’ve been working with the other signatories to come up with a supplemental JMC. This will also not streamline further but include the fiber optics and the broadcast towers,” he added.
ARTA is now working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other signatory agencies on drafting said JMC. According to the agency, it is also consulting stakeholders from the LGUs and the private sector.
The agency will be issuing a new JMC next month to include the process for constructing fiber optics and broadcast towers.
ARTA will also be adopting the Smart City Platform through a Deed of Donation from the Multisys Technologies Corporation. This is the platform that LGUs can use for their business permit and licensing system and all other government services being offered to the public.
The Smart City Platform is already being adopted by the City of Manila and 52 other LGUs in the operation of their one-stop shops and e-governance initiatives.
The program is seen to significantly streamline the ease of doing business and anti-red tape reform initiatives of the government through its automation features and capabilities.
According to Belgica, ARTA, the DICT, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be doing a regional campaign to introduce the new platform to the different LGUs.
“This will be a voluntary thing for them if they would be wanting to have their own automation program,” he said.
Belgica, however, reminded LGUs to set up their electronic business one-stop shops by June 17, 2021.
According to ARTA, a technical working group is set to undertake a deeper evaluation of the Smart City’s capability and efficiency including its technical features, embedded e-bills, e-commerce, and other cost associated with its operations and sustainability prior to pilot implementation.