ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Clearance and Permitting
The EMB CALABARZON Region exerted its effort in the implementation of PEIS System and further streamlined the processing of ECC applications to be able to meet the target and create a harmonious ambiance conducive for investment and production. To date, the Region has already complied with the reduction of the processing time of ECC and CNC issuances Pursuant to the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) on the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the “The Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 (EDBEGSDA) by following the prescribed processing time in the Citizen’s Charter. Such that for Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) applications, the processing period was trimmed down from 120 working days to 20 working days (categorized as highly technical applications or activities which pose danger to public health, safety, morals, and policy, or actions requiring the use of technical knowledge, specialized skills and or/training in the processing and/or evaluation thereof) and that for Certificate for Non-Coverage (CNC) applications, from 15 working days to 7 days (categorized as complex transactions or actions requiring evaluation in the resolution of complicated issues by the public officer). These prescribed processing times will commence once all required documents have been submitted for all types of EIA applications.
For the period of January to June 2020, the approved ECC applications were either processed online or manually. Online ECC applications are new or non-operational projects that require the submission of electronic copies of Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Reports for ECC issuance/approval through ecconline.emb.gov.ph. Whereas, Manual ECC applications are for projects that are already operating that intends to undergo expansion or Non-Environmentally Critical Projects (Non-ECP) which are within the Environmental Impact Statement threshold that require the submission of hard copies of Environmental Performance Report and Management Plans (EPRMPs) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Reports, respectively for ECC issuance/approval.
Pursuant to EMB Memorandum Circular 2015-003, issuance of Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) for Category D Projects that are not required to secure an ECC or projects involving not more than one (1) hectare land development and has not been issued ECC shall be processed on-line by logging in the EMB Website, www.emb.gov.ph CNC online application
However, due to the emerging infectious diseases in the country by the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID 2019) pandemic, the lockdown in the entire Luzon including the National Capital Region (NCR) and CALABARZON Region commenced on March 16, 2020. The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Stringent Social Distancing Measures were imposed with work from home arrangement implemented. In this situation the processing of online applications for CNCs and ECCs continued based on the completion of required documents and availability of internet connections. Manual processing gradually slowed downed where soft copies of the available documents submitted in the office were re-sent through e-mails for reviewing and partial processing purposes only. Digital communication became the communication platform through the EMB Teams website. Contact numbers and e-mail addresses were posted in the EMB website for reference.
On May 15, 2020, the Civil Service allowed multiple work arrangements for government agencies when the modified ECQ was imposed in NCR. The skeletal workforce and work from home arrangements were practiced in the EMB CALABARZON Region in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission. The EIA Section had two (2) alternating work force in an MWF and TTh scheduled skeletal work arrangement back tracking the submitted manual applications left in the office when the lockdown was imposed. Processing of manual applications slowly picked up, with the skeletal force printing approved ECCs.
On June 19, 2020 the inevitable lockdown of the entire building of CALABARZON Region due to documented positive COVID 19 cases led to the practice of alternative work from home arrangements. Thus, all manual applications were continuedly processed and approved through the Clearance and Permitting Division electronic mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1 Highlights of Accomplishments
There were 264 ECCs issued/approved for the period of January to June 2020 or 79.6% of the yearly target. The highest number of ECC was issued on the month of February with 74 ECCs, consecutively followed on the months of January (67 ECCs), June (61 ECCs), and March (51 ECCs). The months of April and May both have 6 ECCs issuance
The approved CNCs culminated to 4,050, divided for the 101 yearly targets of 300 CNCs (2,024 approved CNCs) and for ERF of 400 CNCs (2,026 approved CNCs). Based on these data, the targets are already accomplished this midyear 2020.
Regional Memorandum Circular No. 3 Series of 2020 or the Interim Guidelines on the Issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) and ECC Amendments re: Suspension of Processing Fees and Imposed Penalties During the Community Quarantine in the Period of the COVID-19 Pandemic was approved on June 19, 2020 in response to the EMB CALABARZON Region building lockdown to ease up the processing of all types of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Reports.
A two (2) alternating work force in the EIA Section had an MWF and TTh scheduled skeletal work arrangement back tracking the submitted manual applications left in the office when the lockdown was imposed in March 16, 2020. Processing of manual applications slowly picked up, with skeletal force doing the manual printing of approved ECCs.
All manual applications were continuedly processed and approved then through email@example.com. when the CALABARZON Region building was lockdown on June 17, 2020 due to documented positive COVID 19 cases.
The succeeding figures show contact numbers and e-mail addresses posted in the EMB CALABARZON website together with preventive measures against COVID 19 and other practices performed during this pandemic crisis to ensure continuous government services were enforced. The documented COVID 19 cases in CALABARZON Region for May 15, June 16, July 04 and July 08, 2020 as references were also reflected below.
2 Monitoring and Enforcement
The total target and accomplishment for the monitoring and enforcement are presented in the tables below for the ECP, Non-ECP and CNC:
Table 3. ECP Monitoring
Table 4. Non-ECP Monitoring
Table 4. EIA Survey
It can be seen from the above table that almost all of the mid-year targets were already accomplished. The only activity that fall below 50% is the EIA survey. Table monitoring is the strategy applied by the Technical Staff to generate reports in order to meet the target. The submitted SMR and CMR were reviewed and validated by the Technical people.
3 Challenges (Issues and Concerns)
- Online submission of CMR, full assistance to clients experiencing difficulty in the registration procedure (invalid ECC reference no.) is still being extended, defeating the purpose/objective of online registration. Hereunder are the technical glitches that needs to be addressed by our technical team:
- Difficulty in logging in to http://online.emb.gov.ph/cmr/, most of the time valid password is not being recognized.
- The system requires attachment or proof of compliance, but when they upload the said attachments the error notification “attachment required” always pops up.
- Options for multiple ECCs with one (1) username (especially for land development/subdivision project)
- Limited resources e.g. wifi, a significant resource in conforming w/ the new normal relative to the work from home arrangement adopted by the office.
- Proponent (PCO / Managing Head) must undergo in depth orientation on CMR online submission prior to its full implementation.
- Pocket wifi with service providers of their choice must be provided to the personnel facilitating online services to our client/s.
A pre-requisite for the Approval of Certificate of No Violation is the inspection report, hence, it is recommended that inspection be effected prior to its approval while strictly observing the health & safety protocol on the part of our fieldmen.