PERMITS for telecommunications towers will be automatically approved seven days after all requirements are completed, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said, applying the rules of the ease of doing business law to undo the bottleneck in the tower permit process.

The seven-day deadline complies with the law’s time limit for “complex transactions.” The law requires government agencies to observe three types of deadline: Three working days for simple transactions, seven working days for complex transactions, and 20 working days for highly technical applications.

ARTA said the automatic approval after seven days applies to all tower permit transactions pending with local and national government agencies.

“We required the Telco Companies and Tower Companies to furnish ARTA a list of all their pending applications,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in a message to reporters Tuesday.

Applications not acted on by local legislative councils after 20 days will also be deemed automatically approved.

Local government units and national agencies are required to release all necessary documents and permits to the private applicants, under threat of administrative charges to be filed by ARTA.

“If there are illegal fixers and fixing involved then a Criminal Case will be pursued as well,” Mr. Belgica said.

ARTA derives its authority from Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

A joint task force including ARTA, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology is being formed to carry out administrative and criminal prosecutions against officials obstructing permits.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has threatened to file corruption charges against local government officials if they do not release updates to the DILG by Thursday.

Nine government agencies in July signed a memorandum circular fast-tracking permit approval for the building of shared telecommunications towers by reducing the required number of permits.

Mr. Duterte in his recent State of the Nation Address threatened to shut down telecommunication companies if they fail to improve their service by December. — Jenina P. Ibañez