LGUs agree to speed up permits for cell sites, IT infrastructure

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Local government units (LGUs) on Thursday, Sept. 22, agreed to fast-track the issuance of permits for putting up cell sites to improve the wireless connectivity in the country.

Sen. Grace Poe leading the Senate hearing on the proposed emergency powers for the transport sector. With her is Sen. Panfilo Lacson
Sen. Grace Poe leading the Senate hearing on the proposed emergency powers for the transport sector. With her is Sen. Panfilo Lacson

This was after Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino IV, during a hearing on the proposed emergency powers to solve the country?s transport woes, asked them if they were open to this suggestion.

LGUs have been blamed for the slow and tedious issuing of permits to build the cell sites needed to improve Internet quality in the country.

Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista, one of the few mayors present in the hearing, agreed with Aquino?s proposal. However, he pointed out that they can only fast-track the process for government-owned properties but not for private properties such as subdivisions, which must go through the regular process of permit approval.

Aside from Bautista, also present were Calamba City mayor Justin Marc Chipeco and representatives of Manila and Pasay.

Pasay City administrator Dennis Acorda also expressed support for the proposal, saying it could alleviate traffic in the metropolis.

In an earlier hearing conducted by Aquino, who chairs the Committee on Science and Technology, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and telcos complained of the difficulty to acquire permits from LGUs for their infrastructure development efforts.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Services, has pushed for the inclusion of ICT solutions to the proposed emergency powers.

Poe made the suggestion after DICT undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr., said that less workers and students going to their respective offices and schools would mean less traffic.

?We need to allow telcos (telecommunication companies) to put up more cell sites so that our cellular signal and Internet get faster and our citizens can work from home. This will also reduce traffic,? Poe said in Filipino.

?Vietnam has some 45,000 cell sites, we have only 25,000 cell sites. It also takes about 25 signatures to get a permit to get a cell site,? she added.

Rio noted that the country would need more than 60,000 cell sites to improve Internet access but red tape within LGUs has hindered the quick installation of these cell sites. ? Philippine News Agency

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