ICT

DHSUD eases guidelines on ICT infrastructure permits

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) has updated its guidelines on securing permits for building of network tower projects and other critical infrastructure necessary for information and communications technology (ICT) to reduce the processing time.

“Wireless connectivity has turned into a basic necessity — for business, education and almost every aspect of human life. This is especially poignant and important now that we are in the midst of a pandemic that has turned the lives we know inside out,” DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said in a statement.

“The DHSUD, in the exercise of its mandate, deems it crucial and urgent to hasten any process that will boost the ICT capacity of the country for the benefit of all Filipinos,” Del Rosario added.


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In its Department Order (DO) No. 2020-009 or the Revised Locational Guidelines for Base Stations and Other Infrastructure for Cellular Mobile Telephone Service, Paging Service, Trunking Service, Wireless Local Loop Service and Other Wireless Communications Service, it outlined and updated the requirements and procedure in securing clearance for base stations and other telecommunication infrastructure.

“In cases where the proposed ICT facility will be built on privately owned land within a residential subdivision, a written certification under oath executed by the responsible officer of the company that there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area except the subject property inside the subdivision project and said location will best serve the purpose of inter-connectivity effectively and efficiently will suffice,” the department said in the same statement.

Expedite the application process

The DHSUD has removed the need to go through homeowners associations (HOA), building owners and concerned tenants to expedite the application process.

“In lieu of consent, the company should also submit an undertaking that they will conduct social preparation among the affected homeowners, households or families,” it added.

Del Rosario said the HOA consent requirement caused delays to the implementation and construction of ICT facilities, such as shared telecommunications towers.

The department recently signed a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) for the streamlining of the permitting process for common towers that would further bolster the country’s ICT facilities.

Aside from removing the HOA consent requirement, DO 2020-009 also replaced the need for a Barangay Council Resolution requirement — a process that can take days or even months in some cases. Barangay Clearance, which can be applied for and received on the same day, can now be submitted in its place.

Mobile Network Operator

“Other documentary requirement include the submission of the project area’s vicinity map, site plan, Certified True Copy of the Original or Transfer Certificate of Title, Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) Evaluation Report from the Center for Device Regulation, Radiation, Health, and Research of the Food and Drug Administration, Bill of Materials and Estimated Cost, and Proof of Payment of Locational Clearance Processing Fee,” it said.

If the applicant is a Mobile Network Operator, it would need to provide certified true copy of National Telecommunication Commission, and provisional authority (PA).

For independent tower companies constructing non-electronic telecommunications infrastructure or other passive structures, they must also secure and submit a certified true copy of the ITC Certificate of Registration from the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

“Upon the submission of complete requirement, a site inspection and evaluation will immediately follow,” Del Rosario said.

Zoning

The department has also improved the processing time of the Locational Clearance application to seven calendar days. This speeds the application process by more than a week. The process previously took 15 calendar days to complete.

“Applications for clearance can be submitted to the Local Government Unit (LGU) where the proposed ICT infrastructure project will be located. However, if the LGU does not have an updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance, locational clearances must be obtained from its corresponding DHSUD Regional Office,” it added.

The revised guidelines will take effect immediately after certified copies are furnished to the Office of the National Administrative Register of the University of the Philippines Law Center.