Globe, Aboitiz back extension of order simplifying local gov’t permit processes

GLOBE Telecom, Inc. and the Aboitiz Group called for the extended implementation of an Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) joint memorandum circular (JMC) streamlining the permit process, with the telecommunications company noting that its cell site building program made significant progress under the simplified rules.

“The JMC, set to expire in September, calls for the adoption of simplified requirements and procedures that will reduce red tape and expedite business and non-business-related transactions in government,” Globe said in a statement.

Ernest L. Cu, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Globe, said there is a need to ensure that the JMC continues beyond September.

Mr. Cu is a member of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) headed by Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz.

“We are proud to work alongside Globe and the government through PSAC, in our efforts to improve our nation’s telecommunications system,” Mr. Aboitiz said when asked to comment. “Streamlining telco permitting is among the many initiatives we are working on with the government to help usher in a new era of efficiency and innovation in the Philippines — particularly in the area of digital connectivity for all Filipinos.”

The advisory council had written to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to ask that the JMC remain in force.

The PSAC was convened last year to facilitate closer public-private sector collaboration.

“ARTA’s efforts to improve and streamline the permitting process paved the way for the completion of close to 4,500 Globe cell sites between 2020 and 2022, twice as fast as network builds from 2017 to 2019 and more efficiently than in previous years,” Mr. Cu said. 

According to Mr. Cu, this outcome was made possible by the formalization of streamlined procedures that eliminated “burdensome” local government permit requirements.

He added that the JMC allowed mobile network operators and tower companies to roll out their networks more efficiently and deliver connectivity more effectively.

Globe has sold 447 telecommunications towers to Aboitiz-backed Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc. for P5.4 billion. Unity Digital is a joint venture between Aboitiz Infracapital, Inc. and Partners Group.

Last year, the telecommunications company invested P101.4 billion in network infrastructure. For 2023, the company set aside $1.3 billion for capital expenditure. — Justine Irish D. Tabile