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Poe: Hold gov’t execs accountable for delays in PH digital connectivity

/ 03:15 PM June 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials responsible for further delays in the setting-up of crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country must be brought to account, Senator Grace Poe said on Sunday.

Citing the Ease of Doing Business Act and the Department of Information and Communications Technology Circular No. 8, Poe pointed out that concerned government units are mandated to process and approve permits and clearances for the construction of infrastructures including cell sites within the maximum period of seven working days.

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“To deny our people their basic right to connectivity at this crucial period is sheer neglect and dereliction of duty,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services.

“Connectivity is a must – from health care to education and business – in dealing with this unprecedented crisis,” she added.

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Poe said she expects bureaucratic challenges slowing the construction of cell sites to be immediately addressed especially during the time of pandemic when connectivity is crucially important.

She noted that permits such as for right of way, structural, zoning, location clearance, electrical, sanitation, mechanical and occupancy compliance, and approvals from the Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples usually take a year to be secured.

“Hindi na dapat pang umakyat ng bundok o pumunta sa gilid ng highway ang ating mga guro at mag-aaral para lamang makasagap ng signal,” Poe said, adding it is a “huge disservice” to Filipinos if the government can’t assure access to digital connection during the pandemic.

(Teachers and students should not need to climb a mountain or go to the highways just to have a signal.)

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/MUF

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