The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) supports the proposal of the Department of Information and Technology (DICT) to establish more cell sites through common and shared telecommunications facilities.

This agreement was arrived at during the First Quarter Executive Committee meeting on January 16.  The common and shared telecommunication facilities will address the region’s long-standing concern on the lack of cellular coverage and the slow internet services in most of the Cordillera Region.  According to the National Telecommunications Commission, only 299 or about 1.8 percent of the 16,300 cell sites nationwide are located in CAR. Only Baguio City and the adjoining areas have strong coverage of up to 4G.

The shared infrastructure strategy is also expected to result in the reduction of the cost of establishing towers, enable the entry of new telecom companies (telcos), and minimize the environmental effects of telecom towers as it ensures minimum occupation of land area that already covers several mobile providers.

The RDC-CAR position was presented to DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. last January 18 by NEDA.  The Secretary responded with support for more Cordillera cell sites that should receive National Government subsidy.

To help facilitate the establishment of more towers in the region, the RDC-CAR also suggested that:

  1. The Sub-Committee on Communications to (a) advocate Corporate Social Responsibility among telcos in the establishment of cell sites in CAR regardless of population size, and (b) consider mediating and coordinating with the telcos’ tower companies and LGUs in the issuance of LGUs permits and setting of rental rates.
  2. The DILG-CAR to enjoin the region’s LGUs to streamline, simplify and make uniform the requirements for the establishment of cell site in the LGUs and encourage private owners to charge telcos tower companies a reasonable rent of their properties.
  3. The NCIP –CAR to consider relaxing the FPIC requirement in the establishment of cell sites in CAR, and
  4. The DENR to help find government properties where telco towers can be constructed.

The RDC has been tackling the issue on the region’s poor internet connectivity for several years now.  In 2014, the Sub-Committee on Communications was reactivated by the RDC Infrastructure Development Committee to provide the venue for telcos and RLAs to discuss and resolve issues on the development of the telecom industry.

The Cordillera Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 provides, among others, for the expansion and upgrading of ICT coverage, even as it encourages the ICT service providers to expand their services in the rural areas as part of their social responsibility and improve on the quality of their services in the urban areas to meet industry standards.  xxx