Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured the public on Sunday that a resolution regarding the government’s common tower policy was forthcoming.
Nograles also expressed confidence that the administration will find a “common ground” in the proposals of Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto and Department of Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio.
“There may be differing perspectives regarding this issue, but the goal of the Administration remains the same: to encourage the construction of more telecommunications towers so that telco services are reliable and secure,” said Nograles.
“The President and his alter-egos in the Cabinet are all working for the common good, and whatever policy is eventually adopted will be guided by that precept,” he added.
The former legislator from Davao also explained that at present, the country’s two telcos have put up close to 20,000 towers––less than half of the estimated 50,000 towers the country needs to provide consumers with dependable telco services.
“The blind spots, dropped calls, missing text messages, and slow data speeds are a consequence of this problem,” lamented the lawyer.
“The blind spots, dropped calls, missing text messages, and slow data speeds are a consequence of this problem.”
“Kahit gaano kaganda at high-tech ang inyong smartphones, hangga’t di natutugunan ang pangangailangan na ito at di madagdagan ang mga towers natin, di mawawala ang problema na ito,” added Nograles.
(No matter how high-tech your smartphones are, until this need is addressed and towers are not added, this problem will not go away.)
Jacinto and Rio have acknowledged the need to build more towers to improve telco services, especially with the entry of a third telco player. Rio favors allowing five companies to build the towers, while Jacinto initially recommended that two companies be permitted to construct the much-needed telco infrastructure. On Friday, Jacinto modified his position and is now is now willing to allow up to four tower providers to operate in the country.
“As long as there is a cap in the first four years. It can be more than two, but it cannot be that everyone can build,” said Jacinto.
Nograles said that the Cabinet was focused not just on finalizing the tower policy, “but in laying the groundwork so that the necessary permits for the construction of these towers can be secured at the soonest possible time.”
According to Nograles, tower builders would need to secure 25 permits to construct a telco tower, and measures like the recently passed Ease of Doing Business Law would compel agencies “to speed the process up.”
“Telco towers are vital infrastructure and are an integral part of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program. It will generate thousands of jobs and bring in billions of pesos’ worth of investments,” said the Cabinet Secretary .
“Telco towers are vital infrastructure and are an integral part of the government’s Build, Build, Build program.”
“We have to keep in mind that equally important with new highways connecting our country’s towns are the information superhighways connecting our country to the world––as these are needed by millions of Filipinos who want to take advantage of the web-based economic opportunities and the new law that allow telecommuting to work.”
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act on December 20, 2018. The law institutionalizes “telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement for employees in the private sector.”
Telecommuting refers to a work arrangement that allows an employee in the private sector to work from an alternative work place with the use of telecommunication or computer technologies.