Puerto Princesa City and the town of Rizal in southern Palawan are among the local government units (LGUs) that have been issued compliance orders to release all pending applications of telecommunications companies (telcos) that will be installing new towers and other broadcast equipment in their areas.

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), in a press release, said the compliance order was the first batch of notices it had sent to selected local government units throughout the country. This, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent verbal order to expedite the processing of tower permits.

The ARTA said Tuesday that it issued several compliance orders to LGUs who have applications from telecommunications companies, some of which have completed their requirements and paid all dues. Applications include permission to install broadcast towers, facilities, equipment, and other services.

ARTA head Jeremiah Belgica said that applications that have been pending for more than seven days with already completed requirements will be declared automatically approved, citing Section 15 of Republic Act 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

“We want to remind everyone that the submitted applications with the LGUs that have been pending are deemed automatically approved by law if unacted upon within seven working days from its complete submission and payment of all required fees. There is no more choice for the LGUs or NGAs (national government agencies) but to issue the appropriate permits because Congress has already approved them. Refusal to follow this very clear provision of the law will lead to administrative and criminal cases to be filed. So let us follow,” Belgica was quoted as saying.

Puerto Princesa City and the town of Rizal are among the first batch of LGUs to receive the compliance orders and are required to submit a compliance report to the national government within three working days after receiving the orders.

Telecommunications companies have been given a shorter approval period through a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) because of the increased need for Internet connections for work-from-home employees and students taking online classes due to the ongoing pandemic.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.