Leading integrated telco network PLDT Inc (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc (Smart) have hailed the issuance of Executive Order No. 32 (s. 2023), streamlining the permitting process for the construction, installation, repair, operation and maintenance of telecommunications and Internet infrastructure in the country, which was signed by President Marcos on Tuesday.
This came in the wake of recent telco workshops led by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA). The second workshop, hosted by PLDT and Smart on Tuesday, was participated in by other stakeholders from various government and non-government agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Electrification Administration (NEA), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Philippines Association of Building Officials (PABO), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
As part of ARTA’s ‘Bayanihan’ initiatives, the telco workshop series aim to further address the bottlenecks in the permitting, licensing, and authorizations involved in the energization of telecommunications towers in the Philippines, and to improve connectivity in far-flung areas.
Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT and Smart president and chief executive, expressing his support for the ARTA-led workshops, also noted the importance of public sector partners in ensuring the fast rollout of PLDT and Smart’s fixed and wireless networks. “Through collaborations such as this workshop, we hope to address the urgent need to operationalize policies to ultimately ensure the highest possible quality of service for all Filipinos, and consequently support the government’s digitalization efforts,” Panlilio said.
Gerald G. Divinagracia, ARTA deputy director general for operations undersecretary, delivering a message on behalf of Ernesto V. Perez, ARTA director general, also reiterated the Authority’s mandate under the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) law and to promote streamlining and digitalization of all government processes and procedures through a whole-of-nation approach.
“The President has set forth a bold and transformative vision for our nation: the digitalization of our economy. Recognizing the pivotal role of telecommunications in achieving this vision, he has emphasized the need for comprehensive efforts to improve our internet connections through strong telecom infrastructure,” Divinagracia said. “As we continue to streamline regulations in the telco sector, we have witnessed significant achievements in making the industry more competitive, none of which would have been possible without a whole of nation approach between Government and the private sector.”
At the close of the ceremonies, Sec. Perez emphasized the importance of energy and telecommunications in nation-building. “Our vision at the ARTA is to have a streamlined, digitalized bureaucracy for an effective and efficient service delivery,” Perez said. “And we cannot have a digitalized Philippine bureaucracy unless we cover the whole nation with stronger internet connection.”
PLDT and Smart’s support for these ARTA workshops are aligned with the focus areas of the government-mandated Private Sector Advisory Council’s (PSAC) Digital Infrastructure pillar, particularly on the acceleration of the rollout of telco towers and internet infrastructure.
The initiative likewise supports Go Digital Pilipinas, a PSAC-backed movement wherein one of the goals is to create policies and programs that promote the development of infrastructure and services.
This also reinforces PLDT’s commitment to its aspirational multi-year transformation, with elevating customer experience as one of the key priorities.
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