CONNECTING to the Internet, a space where distance is no obstacle, opens opportunities for every user. Across more than 7,000 islands, and a diaspora found around the globe, Filipinos can connect with each other and discover a world of possibilities. While online resources and connectivity hold the potential to aid all, there, however, exists a digital divide that has become a modern obstacle to many.
That is why the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) issued the following joint statement:
“The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), in their drive to adhere to the priority of His Excellency President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. of improving internet connectivity in the whole country, call for the issuance of an Executive Order to institutionalize the effect of ARTA Telecommunications Sector initiatives that took effect through Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMC):
JMC No. 1, s. 2020: “Streamlined Guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure”
Revised JMC No. 1, s. 2021: “Revised and Expanded Streamlined Guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure (PTTIs)”
JMC No. 1, s. 2021: “Streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits and clearances for the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts and installation of aerial and underground cable and facilities to accelerate the roll out of Telecommunications and Internet infrastructure”
Since the implementation of the JMCs last July 2020, the nation has seen significant improvement in the number of telco permits approved. It has proven effective in curtailing government red tape and in accelerating the delivery of telecommunications and Internet services. In just one year of implementation, there has been a 358.92 percent increase in telco permits approved, and a reduction in the turnaround time from 241 working days to a mere 16 working days.
PSAC lauds the national government agencies and local government units who form part of the implementation of the JMCs. With the impending expiration of the JMCs next year, however, PSAC and ARTA manifest their support for the adoption of an Executive Order prescribing the continuance of the JMCs.
“ARTA's partnership with government agencies and the private sector is indeed integral in its ease of doing business reforms. That is why we are thankful that the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) recognizes the significant impacts of the three JMCs for the telco sector which were collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. As such, this joint statement with the PSAC comes with the Authority's commitment to strengthen its push for the streamlining and digitalization of goverment processes in adherence to President Marcos, Jr.'s directive to further enhance digital infrastructures, improve our services, and ensure that these will benefit the Filipino people,” said ARTA Secretary Ernesto V. Perez
Instead of amplifying pre-existing inequalities, the Internet and the digital world are valuable assets that all should be able to take advantage of. Infrastructure is the key to making that digital world accessible to every Filipino, across islands, mountains, and streams. (PR)