Bicam on Bayanihan 2 OKs move to expedite cell towers construction

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — A congressional panel has adopted a provision in the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, which seeks to hasten the construction of new cellular sites in the country, a senator said Saturday.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that the bicameral conference committee, which is tasked to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Bayanihan 2 bill, approved on Friday his proposal to temporarily suspend for three years certain requirements, except for the building permit, for cell tower construction.

Drilon noted it takes about 29 to 35 documentary requirements and permits to build a single tower.

He said the requirements include “consent from neighbors, barangay resolution, certificate of non-coverage, zoning clearance, height clearance, radiation evaluation studies, building permit, a city or municipal resolution, occupancy permit, mayor’s permit, memorandum of agreement with DENR-NIPAS, among others,” he added. DENR-NIPAS is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Integrated Protected Areas System.

The lawmaker proposed that in case the homeowners refuse to allow companies to construct telco towers, “a referendum, supervised by the barangay council, can be called in the subdivision to decide on the issue.”

The move is seen to lay the foundation for improved telecommunications service in the country. It is also in line with Duterte’s order to two giant telecommunications companies to better their services before December.

In July, several government agencies also signed a memorandum to streamline the process and shorten the timeline of securing permits, licenses, and clearances needed to build a shared passive telecommunication tower infrastructure.