The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) supports President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his call for telecommunications companies to accelerate the improvement of their services throughout the country.

DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II is encouraging telcos to support and avail of the benefits of the DICT’s Common Tower Initiative, which the Department expects to stimulate the growth of the Independent Tower Company (ITC) sector, and widen the base of Common Towers in the country towards better internet quality and more extensive telecommunications service coverage.

Secretary Honasan said that the DICT maintains its position that the telcos’ collocation in the Common Towers that are being rolled out across the country will enable them to service the wider population, as well as deepen and enhance wireless network coverage and quality of ICT services that will contribute to a healthy, competitive ICT environment that will benefit the Filipino people.

Collocating with Common Towers will also help Telcos cut back on their expenses allocated in building up and maintaining their own towers; expenses which, Secretary Honasan explained, can be used to further upgrade their services.

In addition, the Common Tower initiative is further bolstered by the provisions of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) between DICT, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Department of Health (DOH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The JMC significantly removes red tape by streamlining the procedures and requirements for permits, licenses, clearances, certificates, and other requirements in the construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructures (PTTI) or common towers—reducing processing time from 200 days to just 16 days.

“We recognize that telcos have existing commitments with some independent tower companies to collocate on the latter’s common towers for shared cell sites–we commend them for that. We encourage telcos to take full advantage of the benefits of our common tower initiative, and engage with the ITC sector more actively, especially when it comes to providing connectivity to the unserved and underserved areas in the country. We should work together towards a better, more robust, and future-proofed ICT environment. This is in line with the spirit of bayanihan, which President Duterte clearly articulated in his SONA.” Honasan said.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) conducted on Monday, 27 July 2020, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called on concerned companies and agencies, including the DICT, to implement appropriate measures to boost connectivity, promote electronic governance (e-governance), utilize ICT for education, and toughen up the country’s cybersecurity.

“Rest assured that the DICT is continuously implementing programs and initiatives as well as coordinating with relevant agencies and the ICT sectors in ensuring that the country is able to better utilize ICT for education and governance. In addition, we are reinforcing our cybersecurity efforts for the safety and resiliency of Filipinos during this crisis,” Secretary Honasan said.