To fast-track the buildup of telecommunications infrastructure in the country, and in support of the National Broadband Program (NBP) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) released Department Order No. 29, s. 2021.

DO 29, s. 2021 or the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11494, “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” aims to harmonize DO No. 26, s. 2011 (Re: Policy On Diggings/Excavations by Private and

Public Utilities on National Roads), and DO No. 73, s. 2014 (Re: Prohibited Uses Within the

Right-Of-Way of National Roads), with RA No. 11494, to facilitate infrastructure buildup and speed up improvements to telecommunication services in the country.

“We support this policy because it paves the way for the accelerated rollout of vital digital networks and infrastructure by addressing bureaucratic factors that hinder the efficient improvement of telecommunications as well as information services,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

The DICT had previously urged the DPWH to revisit and amend its policies to allow for a more conducive right-of-way (ROW) regulatory framework in view of President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for telcos to ramp up their services during the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

DO 29, s. 2021 allows ICT Service Providers to undertake excavations and restoration works for ICT Infrastructure Projects within the allowable ROW limits of national roads. This is meant to comply with Section 4(ii)(1) of RA 114941—which provides for the temporary suspension of permitting requirements for the construction of

telco and internet infrastructure.

ICT Service Providers are also now temporarily allowed to conduct digging or related construction works without the need to submit the requirements provided under DO No. 26, s. 2011, except for the posting of bond as required in Item 1(f). Additionally, applicant ICT Service Providers shall submit a Notarized Sworn Statement which indicates the location, scope and duration of the construction activity.

Within seven (7) days from submission of the said Notarized Sworn Statement and posting of bond, the DPWH shall clear the telco or internet providers to proceed with the construction of their ICT infrastructure projects.

ICT Service Providers are directed to closely coordinate with the concerned District Engineering Office to determine feasible areas for the construction, preferably those with the least intrusion to government ROW.