THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) is reminding government and private establishments in the region to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) first before starting any project.
Presidential Decree 1586 mandates all projects located near environmentally critical areas to undergo an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
According to Engr. Mary Ann Bueno, the Permitting Section chief of EIA, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) is the agency that takes care of the issuance of ECC.
“Prior to any development, any site clearing or any project implementation, mokuha jud og ECC. This is to assess if a certain area is environmentally feasible for the project,” she said.
Bueno said that even if the EMB approves the ECC because all the requirements are present, the project proponents still have other environmental conditions to comply, such as holding a tree-planting activity.
Under the ECC, the project proponents will be required to submit compliance reports every six months.
According to Bueno, there are more than 10 projects that are being constructed in the whole region without an ECC, and most of these are subdivisions located in the mountainous areas in Cebu.
“Some developers have already started their subdivision project even if their ECC has not yet been released. That’s a violation already,” she said.
Aside from subdivisions, there are also poultry, piggery and small- scale quarries that operate without an ECC, she said.
Under the guidelines of the EIA, the maximum penalty for each environmental condition that will be violated is P50,000, while the minimum is P10,000.
For this year, the EMB is targeting to receive 300–350 ECC applications from the whole region, of which 40–50 percent have already been granted ECCs as of last June.
Kyeth Bontia, senior environmental management specialist, said, “Environmental protection is not just a responsibility of the DENR alone. It requires cooperation from the public. We need your support. We should help each other since we are all inhabitants of the environment.”