Telcos now only need one permit to build cell sites
The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, includes a provision that fast tracks the construction of telco towers by suspending the requirements to secure permits and clearances.
The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act was recently signed by President Duterte, and one of the provisions include the temporary suspension of requirements to secure permits and clearances for the construction of telecommunications and internet infrastructure.
The only exception is the building permit issued by the Office of the Building Official pursuant to the National Building Code of the Philippines, and the height clearance permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
According to the Act, “no national or local permit or clearance shall be required in the construction, installation, repair, operation and maintenance of telecommunications and internet infrastructure by independent tower companies registered with the DICT, or holders of certificates of public convenience and necessity or provisional authority granted by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to public telecommunication entities, for a period of three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act: provided, that for homeowners and other community clearances, the requirements provided under Section 15 of Republic Act No. 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act”, in relation to section 10(k) of Republic Act No. 9904 or the “Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations”, shall apply.”
The act also streamlines the regulatory processes and procedures for the development of digital, internet and satellite technology infrastructure, stating that “all pending and new applications for the construction of cell sites, cell towers, roll out fiber, installation of poles, ground terminals and other transmission or similar telecommunications and internet structure and facilities shall be approved or disapproved within a non-extendible period of seven (7) working days from the date the application was received. An application which is not acted upon within such period shall be deemed approved.”
The act also stated that “no court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, including cell sites and cell towers.”
Permits and clearances in building cell towers are often cited by telcos as one of the biggest challenges in providing faster and more stable internet in the country. The provisions mentioned in the act paves the way for faster construction of cell towers. From about 29 to 35 documentary requirements and permits needed to build a cell tower, telcos now only need a building permit.