By Joe Zaldarriaga

Telco industry lauds EO 32 (s. 2023)

The pursuit of collective prosperity, especially for a developing country like the Philippines, requires collective and aligned initiatives from all sectors of the society. Since driving the country towards advancement should not only depend on government efforts, fostering a culture of collaboration is imperative. Through this, the government can leverage the different expertise of its various sectors towards a more sustainable future.

Among a plethora of ways that the government can support the members of the private sector is through the creation of policies that enable them to operate efficiently. Such does not only create an environment where businesses can thrive but also ensures that the interests of businesses and consumers are also being safeguarded.

Recently, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) issued the Executive Order (EO) 32 (s. 2023) to streamline the permitting process for the telecommunication industry. Simply put, the essence of the new order is to ensure the uninterrupted progress of the Philippines’ digital infrastructure.

To ensure effective implementation of the new EO, cooperation from entities such as government agencies, government-owned or –controlled corporations, and local government units (LGU), that are all involved in the issuance of various permits is requisite. Existing processes on issuance of permits, licenses, certificates, and other authorizations will likewise be rationalized to make these more efficient and at the same time, convenient for businesses.

Furthermore, under the new EO, all municipalities and LGUs are now required to establish a one-stop shop for the convenience of applicants who need to secure construction permits and other related certificates. In conjunction with the new order, municipalities and LGUs will not have room to dilly dally as they are enjoined to observe a zero-backlog policy, which will be closely monitored by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

While standing by for the release of the implementing rules and guidelines from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which chairs the technical working group on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure, members of the telecommunication industry have lauded and welcomed the new EO.

PLDT Inc. President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio was among the first telco leaders who hailed the issuance of the EO. He said, “We at PLDT and Smart are grateful for the issuance of Executive Order No. 32 by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday – providentially, a day after we co-organized a workshop with the Anti-Red Tape Authority on process mapping of telco facilities’ operations and builds.”

“The ARTA and the rest of our partners in the public sector have been consistently helpful in realizing PLDT Group’s goals. With EO 32 streamlining permitting processes for the development of telco and internet infrastructure, we'll be more equipped to ensure better quality of service for all Filipinos and support the government’s digitalization efforts,” he added.

The telco giant's support for the ARTA workshops and related initiatives are aligned with the focus areas of the government-mandated Private Sector Advisory Council’s (PSAC) Digital Infrastructure pillar on the acceleration of the rollout of telco towers and internet infrastructure.

Panlilio also emphasized the importance of identifying gaps and addressing bottlenecks in the existing processes as these affect the company’s rollout of its fixed and wireless networks, which are vital in boosting connectivity especially in remote areas across the country.

In the current landscape, access to the internet has become indispensable. Due to its pivotal role in our life, we have reached the point where internet connectivity can now be considered part of one’s basic human rights. To deny someone access to this is tantamount to denying them the opportunity to learn from and be part of a connected society.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


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.