Globe supports Bayanihan Act extension to fast-track construction of cell sites

AS THE vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is still nowhere in sight, Globe is supporting moves to extend the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, also known as the Bayanihan Act, to boost its target of building more cell sites all over the country, especially now that the Philippines is seeing an acceleration of digital adoption across various sectors.

The company is supportive of the proposed extension of Republic Act 11469 to help fast-track the construction of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure such as cell sites.

The Bayanihan Act is seen to foster the approval of permits and clearances from local government units (LGUs) in as short as seven days, as mandated by the Ease of Doing Business and the Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

“For years, our network expansion plans have been hampered by bureaucracy among LGUs and homeowners associations. This has been the main reason why building cell sites even before the Covid-19 crisis has been very difficult and slow. Hopefully under the extended Bayanihan Act things will change for the better. This will benefit not only the consumers but the LGUs themselves as they also need digital solutions to serve their constituents better,” said lawyer Froilan Castelo, Globe’s general counsel.

Aside from various permits coming from LGUs, barangays and homeowners’ associations, Globe has to secure structural permits such as zoning, locational clearance, building, electrical, sanitation, mechanical and occupancy compliance. There is also the road right of way permit from the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The company will then need the approval of other national government agencies such as the Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, to name a few. The total process alone could take almost a year.

The pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of having a national digital strategy to elevate the digital economy in the country.

Since then, connectivity has played a major role on how people work, communicate, do business and serve the public. The government, in general, has also seen the value and importance of having reliable, accessible and strong internet connections.

“President Rodrigo Duterte can motivate the LGUs to be more responsive and creative in elevating their services to the people especially in these difficult times using available technology. The Chief Executive’s invaluable support can also help the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the telcos to turn into reality the target of building 50,000 additional cell sites to meet the demand of 100 million Filipino Internet users in the country,” Castelo said.

Globe’s network expansion will benefit millions of Filipinos as this will increase capacity to meet the needs of its customers.