In a move to rid the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of corruption and hasten the flow of investment, I am calling for the immediate review of procedures and requirements in the issuance of environmental permits, including environmental compliance certificates (ECC).
We need to hasten the process, simplify it, ease unnecessary requirements so that investors, both foreign and local, will eventually flow in upon getting the necessary clearances.
This drastic streamlining that we will be doing will also remove occasions of graft and corruption and hasten the sustainable development of our natural resources. By streamlining processes in ECC acquisition and other requirements, we can help generate more investments and this will lead to more jobs for our fellow countrymen.
It normally takes a year for an Environmental Compliance Certificate application to be approved, 17 weeks for mining permits and about three months for a Certificate of Non-Coverage. The ECC streamlining definitely cuts through all the red-tape and bureaucratic delays that companies experience in getting their ECCs approved.
ECCs are part of the requirements for all development projects in the country as an assurance that the planning, construction and operations of these projects do not adversely affect the environment and human health.
Presidential Decree No. 1586, which established the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System, mandates that all environmentally-critical projects (ECPs) as well as projects that are located in environmentally-critical areas shall undergo thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) to ensure the protection of the environment as well as the communities living within or near the project site.
Such projects may include, for example, building a hydroelectric dam or factory, irrigating a large valley, or developing a harbor, which may generate impacts on flora, fauna, air quality, landscape and other features of the environment.
Critical mine structures include tailings dams, waste dumps and small-scale mining areas, while geohazard areas refer to areas that are susceptible to landslides, floods, liquefaction, ground subsidence and other ground instabilities.
Prior to the issuance of the ECC, project proponents are required to undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to determine possible adverse environmental impacts of their proposed projects or activities and to come up with measures or strategies to reduce such impacts on the environment.