By Chito Chavez
To protect and safeguard the public against man-made disasters, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) asked all local government units (LGUs) to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before operating any environmental project.
In Memorandum Circular 2018-152, DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo M. Año said projects posing environmental risk or impact are required to secure an ECC from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau.
Among such projects are mining, agriculture projects, and golf course construction.
“Sometimes there is a flip side to development as unchecked development takes its toll on the environment. While we, therefore, encourage the influx of new businesses, local governments should always consider the potential impact of new projects on the environment and to nearby residents,” Año said.
The DILG chief noted that tragic environmental degradation of Boracay Island is a classic example of how unregulated development made the famous white-sand holiday destination into a “cesspool.”
“Huwag na nating hayaang mangyari pa ang nangyari sa Boracay. Huwag nating ishortcut ang mga proseso para lang sa negosyo. Kailangan nating siguruhin na mayroong ECC bago magsimula ang anumang proyekto na alam nating makakaapekto sa kalikasan (Let us not allow a repeat of the Boracay mess. Let us not railroad the lawful process simply for business concerns. We should ensure that there is an ECC before starting any projects that would affect the environment),” Año.said.
Presidential Decree No. 1586 dated June 11, 1978 (Establishing an Environmental Impact Statement System including other Environmental Management-Related Measures) states that “no person, partnership, or corporation shall undertake or operate any declared environmentally critical project or area without securing first an ECC.”
Applications for ECCs are reviewed and granted by the DENR through the EMB as stated in Malacañang’s Administrative Order 42 issued on November 2, 2002.
An ECC is issued after a positive review of the project’s application by the DENR-EMB.
It indicates that a proposed undertaking will not cause a significant negative impact on the environment.
The project proponent must then fulfill the specific measures and conditions indicated in the ECC before and during the operation of the project and even after the project completion.
An ECC also certifies that the proponent has complied with all the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) system and has committed to implement its approved environmental management plan.
In cases where DENR-EMB finds that an ECC is not applicable, a Certificate of Noncoverage (CNC) shall be issued confirming that the proposed project is not part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and poses no environmental threat.