Department of Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey “Manny” R. Caintic committed to review existing protocols to address the mounting concerns of Independent Tower Companies (ITCs) on May 5, 2022, at the Meralco Compound in Pasig City.
In a public consultation with the ITCs, Sec. Caintic promised to streamline national government processes in accelerating the rollout connectivity infrastructure in the country.
During the consultation, the ITCs shared that while application requirements were substantially lessened with the help of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) that was agreed on in a previous consultation, some Local Government Units (LGUs) request their own set of requirements.
In response, Sec. Caintic urged the ITCs to make use of the “Tower Watch”, a dedicated platform established by the DICT where ITCs can submit their documentary requirements.
“We will be establishing a Technical Working Group that will collate and determine various concerns from the ITCs alongside bringing them to the attention of the concerned LGUs. We will be harnessing efforts from the different national government agencies,” said Sec. Caintic.
Sec. Caintic also tasked the DICT’s regional offices to monitor tower construction within their jurisdictions and to make sure of documentary and building code compliance to avert any untoward challenges.
The DICT Chief also mulled over the possibility of an automatic review mechanism that will make way for faster and transparent transactions amongst ITCs, LGUs, and the national government.
Also up for task is the Department’s Information and Strategic Communications Division Director Emmy Lou Delfin who was tapped by Sec. Caintic to strengthen its information dissemination campaign to debunk misinformation about the alleged health hazards caused by the towers. DICT Director Elias Omar Sana stressed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued a certification rebuking the information that cell towers emit harmful radiation.
As the ITCs raised various concerns, the DICT responded with possible initiatives and actions that the Department can push forward to improve its processes. “We should seek adaptive resolutions to our problems. I will make the process easy for ITCs to build up more towers faster, but I will regulate appropriately,” he added.
Also present during the event were DICT Director Maria Teresa Magno-Garcia and DICT Consultant Atty. Ira Paulo Pozon.