Interim Reimbursement Mechanism

933 new permits issued by LGUs since start of ARTA proceedings

21 September 2020–The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) had recorded a total number of 933 approved telecommunications permits as of today following the issuance of Compliance Orders to local government units (LGUs) all throughout last month. For PLDT/Smart, a total of 661 documents have been released including permits for Barangay Resolution, Building Permit, and Certificate of Final Electric Inspection across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Globe reported a total of 272 approved permits. The Compliance Order directed LGUs to “immediately comply with the provision of Section 15 of R.A. 11032 and issue permits, certifications, and clearances corresponding to applications with complete requirements and fees paid that have been pending beyond seven working days from the time the applicant has submitted the complete requirements and paid all accordant fees, as these are deemed automatically approved by operation of law”.

There had been four (4) batches of compliance orders issued according to the list of pending applications submitted by the telco companies for a total of 57 compliance orders sent to 49 cities and municipalities. “ARTA is happy that our LGUs and NGAs are promptly responding to the compliance orders that we’ve sent them.

This shows that with a concentrated push, our government agencies are able and are willing to fast track the construction of telecommunication towers to improve interconnectivity by Christmas this year. With this, it has been proven that the road to end red tape is through streamlining and reinforcement of strong political will,” the ARTA czar declared.

Even before the President called for the faster construction of more telco towers, ARTA has started conducting hearings with the LGUs and NGAs regarding their telco permitting process while in close coordination with the telco companies.

The issuance of compliance order follows the signing of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020 between ARTA, DICT, DILG, DHSUD, DOTr-CAAP, DOH-FDA, and DPWH-NBO that aims to streamline the telco permitting process.

 It cuts the processing time form 241 days to 16 days only and reduces documentary requirements from 86 to 35. The JMC has been in effect since August 20 2020

Manufacturing and wholesale-retail trade are critical sectors during pandemic, study says

The other manufacturing, retail-wholesale trade, and government services are the top three economic sectors that are critical during the pandemic, based on a study on “Mitigating Eco-nomic Losses from COVID-19: Insights from Input Output Analysis,” which was presented in a webinar on “COVID-19: Where We Are and Where We Want To Be.” The research looks at the economies of both Malaysia and the Philippines.

Analyzing the five factors: economic impact, connectivity, sector size, income multiplier, and employment, the researchers identified the critical sectors for the economies of both countries. The mathematical models they developed account for network effects, where changes in a particular sector cause “ripple effects” in other sectors of the economy.

“When a firm goes bankrupt, it disappears from the economic picture. The question is, how far below normal can a certain economic sector dip, because percentage-wise, below a certain threshold level, bouncing back to pre-pandemic level becomes difficult or even impossible,” Raymond Tan, a professor at DLSU and member of the research team, said.

Tan illustrated that economic sectors are not monolithic entities, but consists of individual firms. In a given crisis like a pandemic, what happens for instance, in hotels and restaurants, is that these large number of corporate entities might end up going bankrupt because of per-centage loss of business, and it is this percentage or fraction of loss that is significant.

The tourism and travel industry are among the extremely hard-hit sector this pandemic, but sectors such as telecommunications, finance, logistics and delivery are booming.

The enhanced input-output model of analysis can help the government identify the critical eco-nomic sectors to be prioritized, so that given the limited resources, the government would know where to distribute the stimulus package across sectors of the economy to maximize the benefits. This model was developed by Krista Danielle Yu, another member of the research team for the Philippines’ side.

The team presented several scenarios for computer-aided allocation of economic stimulus, a scientific approach to maximize the social benefits per Peso spent. Effective exit strategies are needed to revive economies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippine economy has been doing good, due to sustained decades-worth of over 6% growth in GDP. However, there’s been a 16.5% contraction during the second quarter of the year because of the pandemic. Compared, though, with Malaysia’s drop in GDP by about 20% during lockdown, the country fared slightly better.

“There will be limited resources, but with the use of computer models and with the best availa-ble techniques, we can make better decisions and restart the economy in the best way possi-ble,” Tan said, acknowledging the importance of a scientifically-based policy support for plan-ning in the government, which has been what the Department of Science and Technology has been doing.

The research was based on outputs from a project supported by a special COVID-19 grant from Heriot-Watt University’s Global Challenges Research Fund (CGRF). The project involved a team of researchers led by Dr. Viknesh Andiappan from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, University of Nottingham Malaysia, and De La Salle University.

For more scientific-based discussions on COVID-19, the public can go to the Facebook Page, NAST PHL of the National Academy for Science and Technology (NAST), an agency of DOST. (Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, S&T Media Service)