THE rollout of telecommunications towers continues to be hindered by the failure to harmonize permit processes at various levels of government, even after the issuance of joint memorandum circulars (JMCs) under the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), ARTA said.

“We also recognize the challenges beyond the issuance of our JMCs and despite our intervention,” ARTA Deputy Director General for Operations Gerald G. Divinagracia said at the Second Telco Workshop on Tuesday.

“The lack of standard processes, requirements and fees specifically on the conduct of inspections by the electric cooperatives, and the lack of coordination and communication among relevant agencies continue to persist and affect the energization phase of telecommunication towers,” he added.

Alfredo S. Panlilio, president and chief executive officer of PLDT, Inc., said that workshops involving the private sector and government agencies will help minimize the risk of other projects disrupting the building of telecom infrastructure.

“We fully support this ARTA-driven workshop on process mapping of telco facilities’ operations and builds,” Mr. Panlilio said. “Solutions to be developed from this initiative will minimize, if not totally prevent, accidental cable cuts caused by the Department of Public Works and Highways’ projects.”

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. is the ARTA partner for the second telco workshop.

“We hope to address the urgent need to operationalize policies to ultimately ensure the highest possible quality of service for all Filipinos, and consequently support the government’s digitalization efforts,” Mr. Panlilio said.

According to Mr. Divinagracia, the second workshop aims to examine the complexities of implementation at the government agency level.

“Through these collective efforts, we hope to improve the quality and coverage of telecommunications and internet connectivity across the country, bridging the digital divide connecting our 7,641 islands and ensuring that no one is left behind in the journey towards a more connected and inclusive nation,” he said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile