THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it is forming a task force to monitor local government compliance with rules expediting the permit process for new common cell towers.

Nine government agencies signed a memorandum circular streamlining requirements for securing permits, licenses and clearances to build such towers.

“(Local governments) according to reports and information gathered, are notorious for imposing burdensome requirements and huge fees at various stages of the permitting process. This has hindered numerous Telco Tower projects across the country,” ARTA said in a statement Tuesday.

Under the new rules, the government plans to reduce the processing time to 16 days from the previous average of eight months. It also plans to cut the number of required documents to 35 from 86.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said charges can be filed if particular government officials or employees cause delays despite the guidelines.

ARTA intends to meet with telcos, tower companies, and others in the telecoms industry to encourage partnerships to reduce red tape.

“ARTA is asking for the help of the public to not engage in any corrupt practices. Otherwise they too shall be penalized accordingly,” it said.

ARTA said the task force is being formed in response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call to improve telecommunications services.

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