By Joe Zaldarriaga

PLDT backs ARTA’s drive to streamline processes for telco towers

Navigating through the aftermath of the pandemic, the government continues to work hand in hand with members of the private sector to propel the country towards recovery and to once again, push for economic growth.

To achieve national advancement faster and easier and to improve ease of doing business, the government has deemed it necessary and crucial to expedite permits processing.

The sooner that these businesses are allowed to operate and expand, the sooner it can contribute to the government’s national goal.

With this, as the primary government agency strategically formed to address the dire need to streamline government processes for businesses across the archipelago, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has been doubling its efforts to eliminate red tape to speed up permits processing.

Furthermore, with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to focus on improving the country’s digital infrastructure and connectivity, ARTA has been actively engaging telecommunication businesses to help them identify the gaps that stalls processes affecting these companies’ operations.

As the premier and largest telecommunications and digital service provider, PLDT, Inc. (PLDT), has reinforced its commitment to back ARTA’s initiatives.

At the recently concluded 2nd Telco Workshop for Process Mapping of Telco Towers’ Energization, PLDT-Smart president and chief executive officer Alfredo Panlilio delivered a message of support to the agency.

“ARTA and the rest of our partners in the public sector have been consistently helpful in realizing PLDT Group's goals, particularly in facilitating the fast rollout of our 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.

As a company whose vision is anchored on customer-centricity, PLDT-Smart's foremost priority is to ensure positive customer experience and to constantly aim for improvement. This is how Panlilio described the telco giant’s strategy in striving to power Filipinos’ digital lifestyles.

Given this, PLDT-Smart fully supports the ARTA-driven workshop as the company believes that solutions to be developed from the initiative will be instrumental in minimizing the incidents of accidental cable cuts caused by projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

According to Panlilio, the company’s fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country measuring over 1.1 million kilometers as of the end of the first quarter, was also not spared from such incidents.

With the importance of internet and cellular connectivity now nearing the levels of basic human necessities, these incidents should at least be minimized if not totally prevented.

Another key member of the private sector that partners with the government to literally and figuratively power progress, Manila Electric Company (Meralco), has likewise expressed its full support to ARTA.

Coming from the first workshop with the agency, which was centered on process mapping of energizing telco towers, the two entities were able to identify the challenges that negatively affect the energization timeline for telco towers such as the long lead time in securing permits like the certificate of final electrical inspection (CFEI) and right of way.

The fact that the commencement of operations of telco towers is highly dependent on how fast Meralco can energize its service has prompted the company to review and refine its existing processes. The power distributor has successfully identified bottlenecks and areas for improvement, which can be expected to help in streamlining its process with that of other agencies involved in the whole energization process for telco towers.

During the second workshop, Meralco reported that it has energized 765 telco towers in 2022 alone and has so far energized 408 in the first half of 2023. The power distributor is set to energize over 1,000 more up to the end of this year.

Through continuously working closely with ARTA and implementing needed measures to beef up the speed of its energization process, Meralco is confident that it will contribute significantly to the government’s objectives of improving ease of doing business and attracting more investors to help spur economic growth.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.