Development projects that are exempt from securing Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) may now apply for and obtain a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) via online beginning February 2.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), has issued a memorandum circular providing for electronic transaction of CNC application and processing.
DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the memorandum seeks to streamline and speed up the CNC application process for projects that fall under “Category D” of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) system.
Category D refers to projects that are unlikely to cause adverse environmental impacts. These involve not more than one hectare land development, with no toxic or hazardous materials, substances and products, including those in the revised Priority Chemical List and Chemical Control Order under Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.
“This new system has been designed to speed up and simplify the processes associated with projects that do not require ECCs. It allows for the secure online and paperless transaction 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Paje said.
An ECC is issued to certify that the project under consideration will not bring about an unacceptable environmental impact and that the proponent has complied with the requirements of the EIS system.
Paje said an online application process enables easier communication between the parties and faster transactions. “It would not only make life easier for CNC applicants, but would also save considerable amount of resources both by the applicant and the DENR.”
The standard practice was for the project proponent or his representative to secure the forms from the nearest EMB office, fill the forms, and submit it back to the office for evaluation.
The concerned EMB office evaluates the submission and informs the project proponent within five working days of the results of the evaluation. Upon receipt of the confirmation, the project proponent pays the applicable fees and collects the CNC.
“The process is time consuming especially for applicants who are located far from the EMB regional offices,” Paje said, adding that this is made difficult as well since there are only 13 regional offices serving more than 70 provinces.
The environment chief noted that the project proponent has to go to the regional office three times – first to get the forms, then to submit the forms, and finally to collect the CNC.
“In fact, the travel time and cost of travel alone could be several times more expensive than the CNC fees,” he pointed out.
With the improved system, Paje said the application form is posted on the Internet and the proponent only needs to fill it out and submit it electronically. The proponent also submits scanned or faxed copies to the concerned EMB office.
Once the proponent meets all the requirements, he is asked to submit to the EMB office a certified true copy of all the supporting documents, present to an EMB officer the original documents, pay the processing fees through bank and finally collect the CNC. The applicant may obtain and print a copy of the CNC online.
If the submission is insufficient to support the application, the applicant will be informed of the deficiency through electronic mail, rather taking a trip to the EMB regional office.
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy