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The Philippines Enhancing Digital Inclusion

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Ivan John Uy, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), applauded the issuing of Executive Order (EO) No. 32, which expedited the processing of permits connected to the building of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure.

According to Secretary Ivan, the EO will strengthen the public’s access to reliable connectivity. He also expressed gratitude for the DICT’s support of projects aimed at fostering inclusivity and bridging the digital gap.

“The issuance of EO 32 is a crucial step in our goal of attaining a digitally inclusive nation. As we pursue the streamlining of requirements for the construction of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure, we have removed the roadblocks that impede the provision of safe and reliable connectivity to all Filipinos,” said Secretary Ivan.

On 5 July 2023, EO No 32 was released, which sped up the application process for permits for the setup of poles, the installation of aerial and underground cables, underground fibre ducts, and other passive infrastructures, as well as the construction, installation, repair, maintenance, and operation of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure (PTTIs).

The EO cited that, with the exception of the following, no other national or municipal permit or clearance shall be necessary for the building of telecommunications and internet infrastructure:

  • Building Permit issued by the Office of the Building Official;
  • Height Clearance Permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines;
  • Homeowners and other community clearances;
  • Clearances from other government agencies, when applicable; and
  • Other requirements mandated by the Constitution and existing laws.

Additionally, given that the conditions have been completed and the fees have been paid in accordance with the applicable legislation, any covered applications that are not acted upon within the stipulated period will be deemed authorised. To expedite the development of their ICT infrastructure, local government entities will also set up one-stop shops for construction permits.

The Private Sector Advisory Council Digital Infrastructure and the Anti-Red Tape Authority jointly recommended the EO as a critical step towards attaining the country’s goal of establishing a universal connection.

A Technical Working Group on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure was also established by the EO as an oversight body to guarantee the measure’s effective and efficient implementation.

The National Telecommunications Commission, a DICT-affiliated body, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and other organisations will make up the TWG under the direction of the DICT.

The Order’s implementing rules and regulations were to be written by the TWG on Telecommunications and Infrastructure under the direction of the DICT within sixty days of the Order’s taking effect.

The advantages of streamlined guidelines for processing permits related to the construction of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure contribute to the expansion of digital infrastructure, improved connectivity, and socioeconomic development in the Philippines.

The government’s goal of achieving universal digital inclusion is supported by simplified rules. More communities, including those in remote and underserved areas, can take advantage of the benefits of digital connectivity by hastening the construction of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure, giving them more opportunities for economic development, employment, and education.

Further, the Philippines is a desirable location for investors in the telecommunications and ICT sectors due to efficient permit processing and an accommodating regulatory environment. The government’s dedication to facilitating infrastructure development and promoting private sector involvement, which will result in more investments and economic progress, is demonstrated by the simplified regulations.


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