Issue telco permits in 3 days or else, Duterte warns local governments
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants local government units (LGUs) to act on permit applications of telecommunications firms within three days in a bid to improve connectivity in the country.
He warned local officials who failed to comply that they would be charged with corruption or face possible suspension.
“I’m telling you now. You municipal, city [councils] or I don’t know if the provincial board is included. If you do not release [the permits] beginning today, I am going to give you exactly three days to report to the Department of the Interior and Local Government,” the President said.
“If you fail to do that, I am directing fiscals to file the case immediately… I’ll see to it that you will be suspended as a form of punishment, but I would prefer that you be dismissed immediately and the courts are not to interfere.”
He added: “The clock is ticking, except on days that we do not hold office.”
Duterte issued the deadline to LGUs and warning to local officials in a televised address on Sunday night.
He said barangay officials who also caused delays in the issuance of permits would not be spared.
“I want barangay captains, the idiots and the lowlife in the lower echelons of government, they should know that at least I may not be really the best. But I want to taste your agony and I want to taste your humiliation while I am here because you are a criminal,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday clarified that Duterte’s instruction “is an appeal to councils in the Philippines. If you are not under modified enhanced community quarantine, you should act on applications of telecom companies and other firms within three days, because we have an antired tape law.”
In a video address recorded on Thursday, Globe Telecom CEO Ernest Cu was heard explaining to the President that his company would need eight months to secure 28 to 30 permits required to put up a single cell tower. These included assorted “miscellaneous” and “tower” fees, and special use permits that “are not standardized.”
Cu said Globe would need 5,000 sets of permits for all cell towers to be put up nationwide.
Mr. Duterte said he will ask new Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission member Danilo Yang to file charges against local councils who failed to meet his deadline.
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