PRIMER ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE (ECC) IN

ACCORDANCE WITH THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIC) SYSTEM, ITS
NATURE, COVERAGE, CORRESPONDING REQUIREMENTS, AND CURRENT
ACCESSIBILITY
Q:

What is an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)?

A:

An ECC is a certificate issued by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), a
bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), stating
that the proponent is to continue a certain project which concerns construction,
development, mining, farming, aquaculture, industrial use of land, or other purposes,
provided that the project is subjected to certain conditions such as timelines for
completion, solid waste management practices, zoning regulations, emissions testing,
and more, subject to the requirements of the EMB. The necessary protocol in case of
project abandonment is also found in the ECC. Non-compliance with the conditions
stated in the ECC is punished by certain fines.
The ECC is not actually a permit to implement the project. It is a certification that “the
proponent has committed to undertake or implement mitigative measures to reduce the
negative environmental impacts to acceptable levels.” 1
The ECC certifies also that the proponent has accomplished all the requirements of the
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System and has committed to implement its
approved Environmental Management Plan (EMP) in the preparation, completion,
maintenance, and abandonment of its project.2
The issuance of an EEC does not exempt the proponent from acquiring other permits
and clearances required by law nor will it preclude other government agencies from
asserting issues as regards the project when such is within their jurisdiction. 3

Q:

When is it required to secure an ECC?

A:

ECC’s are generally required when an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in the
form of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), is required by law to be submitted to
the proper government agency. The EIS is submitted when applying for an ECC.

Q:

When is an EIS required?

A:

The EIS system was introduced by Presidential Decree 1586 4 declaring that when there
are projects undertaken that are either Environmentally Critical Projects (ECP) or
located in Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA), an EIS must be submitted by the
entity or person responsible for the implementation of the project.

1

PSMBFI Environmental Compliance Certificate PDF (actual copy) available at
http://psmbfi.com.ph/assets/pdf/63-certificate-of-environmental-compliance.pdf (last accessed Jul 12, 2016).
2
Environmental Management Bureau, Memorandum Circular No. 2014-005 [EMB MC No. 2014-005], Section 2.1
(Jul. 7 2014)
3
EMB MC No. 2014-005, Section 2.6
4
Establishing an Environmental Impact Statement System Including Other Environmental Management Related
Measured and for Other Purposes, [PD 1586], Presidential Decree No. 1586 (1978)

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Q:

What are Environmentally Critical Projects (ECP)?

A:

The following are ECPs:
“Environmentally Critical Projects:
I.

Heavy Industries
a.
b.
c.
d.

Non-ferrous metal industries
Iron and steel mills
Petroleum and petro-chemical industries including oil and gas
Smelting plants

II. Resource Extractive Industries
a. Major mining and quarrying projects
b. Forestry projects
1. Logging
2. Major wood processing projects
3. Introduction of fauna (exotic-animals) in public/private forests
4. Forest occupancy
5. Extraction of mangrove products
6. Grazing
c. Fishery Projects
1. Dikes for/and fishpond development projects
III. Infrastructure Projects
a. Major dams
b. Major power plants (fossil-fueled, nuclear fueled, hydroelectric or
geothermal)
c. Major reclamation projects
d. Major roads and bridges”5
In addition to ECP’s are the development, construction, and operation of Golf
Courses after having been considered to be environmentally critical projects pursuant to
Proclamation No. 803.6
Q:

How do I determine if my project is an ECP?

A:

Since the initial screening for ECC application are now online 7, and pursuant to the
streamlining of the process for determining whether or not a project is covered by the
EIS, thus requiring an ECC, all one needs to do is check the website of EMB and their

5

Office of the President, Proclaiming Certain Areas and Types of Projects as Environmentally Critical and Within
the Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement System Established Under Presidential Decree No. 1586,
Proclamation No. 2146 s.1981 (Dec. 14 1981)
6
Office of the President, Declaring the Construction, Development and Operation of a Golf Course as an
Environmentally Critical Project Pursuant to PD 1586, Proclamation No. 803 s. 1996 (Jun. 6, 1996)
7
Environmental Management Bureau, Memorandum Circular No. 2015-003 [EMB MC No. 2015-003] (Jan. 20
20145)

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Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Division (EIAMD), and search for
the project checker which determines the nature of the project with respect to the EIS
system.
Alternatively, one can go directly to the EIAMD “project checker” which can be accessed
through this URL: http://119.92.161.13/projectchecker/onlineapplication.aspx
Q:

What are the Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA)?

A:

The following are ECA’s:
“Environmentally Critical Areas:
1. All areas declared by law as national parks, watershed reserves, wildlife
preserves and sanctuaries;
2. Areas set aside as aesthetic potential tourist spots;
3. Areas which constitute the habitat for any endangered or threatened
species of indigenous Philippine Wildlife (flora and fauna);
4. Areas of unique historic, archaeological, or scientific interests;
5. Areas which are traditionally occupied by cultural communities or tribes;
6. Areas frequently visited and/or hard-hit by natural calamities (geologic
hazards, floods, typhoons, volcanic activity, etc.);
7. Areas with critical slopes;
8. Areas classified as prime agricultural lands;
9. Recharged areas of aquifers;
10. Water bodies characterized by one or any combination of the following
conditions;
a. tapped for domestic purposes
b. within the controlled and/or protected areas declared by
appropriate authorities
c. which support wildlife and fishery activities
11. Mangrove areas characterized by one or any combination of the following
conditions:
a. with primary pristine and dense young growth;
b. adjoining mouth of major river systems;
c. near or adjacent to traditional productive fry or fishing grounds;
d. which act as natural buffers against shore erosion, strong
winds and storm floods;
e. on which people are dependent for their livelihood.
12. Coral reefs characterized by one or any combinations of the following
conditions:
a. With 50% and above live coralline cover;
b. Spawning and nursery grounds for fish;
c. which act as natural breakwater of coastlines.”8

8

Proclamation No. 2146 s. 1981

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Q:

How do I determine if my project is inside an ECA?

A:

If the project is a Socialized Housing Project under RA 7279, the HLURB desk is tasked
to issue clearances stating that a certain project is not within an ECA.9
If not, the map of the area wherein the project site is located may be requested from the
LGU which has jurisdiction over the project location. If the LGU, with the assistance of
the HLURB10, has opted for an automated mapping system under the Geographic
Information System (GIS)11 for Comprehensive Land Use Plans12, one may request to
view and print the map via the GIS program and if the LGU uses the traditional method,
or has yet to update, the traditional map may be requested accordingly.
The map will expedite the process of determining whether or not the project site is within
an ECA, but ultimately, it will be the EMB who determines the nature of the
location13 as regards being inside an ECA and if the area is not an ECA, they will issue
to the proponent his Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC), which essentially says that
the proponent does not need to submit an EIS, and consequently an ECC.

Q:

Who are required to secure an ECC with respect to PD 1586 (EIS Law) and EMB
issuances?

A:

According to the latest issuances14 of the EMB and DENR regarding the ECC with
respect to the EIS, those required to secure an ECC either due to ECP’s or projects
within ECA’s are categorized under “Category A” and “Category B”, respectively. There
is a sub-classification under each category those being new applicants (A/B-1), those
existing and to be expanded, modified, and/or rehabilitated (A/B-2), and those

9

Office of the President, Creating Socialized Housing One-Stop Processing Centers to Facilitate the Processing and
Issuance of Permits, Clearances, Certifications and Licenses Appropriate and Necessary for the Implementation of
Socialized Housing Projects, and Directing All Government Agencies Concerned to Support the Operations of Said
Centers, Executive Order No. 184 s. 1994 [E.O. No 184 s. 1994] Section 3-2(f) (Jun. 27, 1994)
10

GIS cookbook, a part of Comprehensive Land Use Planning (CLUP) Guidelines to assist LGUs in preparing their
Comprehensive Land Use Plans, chapter 4.08.08, Environmental Management: Environmentally Critical
Areas/Project available at http://www.cookbook.hlurb.gov.ph/4-08-08-environmental-managementenvironmentally-critical-areas-project (last accessed Jul 12, 2016).
11

Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Approving the Financial Proposal "GIS Cookbook for LGUs" for
Operating Expenses Chargeable to Income, HLURB Memorandum Circular No.20, s.2003, Resolution No.R740,s.2003, [HLURB MC no. 20 s. 2003] (2003)
12

Office of the President, Providing for the Preparation and Implementation of the Comprehensive Land Use Plans
of Local Government Units Pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991 and Other Pertinent Laws, Executive
Order No. 72 s. 1993 [E.O. 72 s. 1993] (Mar. 25, 1993)
13

Environmental Management Bureau, Memorandum Circular No. 2010-004 [EMB MC No. 2010-004] (Sep. 27,
2010)
14
EMB MC No. 2014-005

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operating without an ECC (A/B-3). All of the persons responsible for projects which fall
under any of these categories and sub-categories are required to secure an ECC.
Q:

How does one determine if an ECC is required?

A:

For ECPs: The online application process immediately screens those projects which are
required to acquire an ECC and those who are merely required to obtain a Certificate of
Non-Coverage (CNC), or even none at all if they are not covered by the project checking
system. The laws and issuances are implicit in requiring a CNC for those not covered by
the EIS, but it is always advised to secure a CNC in order to ensure that the proper
government agency had certified that the project is not an ECP and is not within an ECA.
Acquiring a CNC is the best practice
For projects in ECAs: If the online project checker has determined the project not to be
an ECP, then the ultimate determination of whether or not a non-environmentally critical
project is located in an ECA rests on the EMB. Usually, an Initial Environmental
Examination (IEE) checklist and its corresponding documents are required in order to
screen the project. The EMB website states:
“In compliance with the DENR Memorandum Circular 2010-14
dated June 29, 2010 prescribing the outline of the contents of EIA
Reports required for ECC applications and the directive to focus
the EIA Study to the most critical environmental impacts, project
type-specific IEE Checklist Report Form was formulated as a proforma EIA Report for Non-Environmentally Critical Projects
proposed to be located in Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA).
The formulation of the IEE Checklist Reports is intended to
simplify and standardize the requirement for ECC applications for
non environmentally critical projects. These IEE Checklist Report
forms likewise provide a checklist of options for disaster and
climate change risks management and a menu of adaptation
options enhancing the use of the PEISS as a risk-based planning
and management tool. To date, the following project type
specific IEE Checklist Report Form has been developed:












Batching and Crushing Plants
Building Projects
Cemetery and other Funeral Facilities
Fisheries, Aquaculture Projects
Food, Food By-products and Beverages Manufacturing
Generic - Other types of Projects
Irrigation, Flood Control & Minor Dam Projects
Livestock & Poultry Projects
Non-Food Manufacturing Plants
Resorts and other Tourism-Leisure Projects
Roads & Bridges
Subdivision & Housing Projects
Waste Management Projects

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Water Supply Projects”15

For those without project-specific IEE checklists, a generic IEE Checklist can be
downloaded here:
119.92.161.2/portal/Portals/10/GENERIC%20IEE%20checklist%20form.doc
Q:

Why is ECC/CNC compliance necessary?

A:

There are hefty penalties and fines which correspond to non-compliance and violations
of PD 1586 (EIS Law)16, and relevant administrative issuances17. In 2015, the EMB
collected 7 million Pesos in fines just within Cebu alone.18By complying with the relevant
laws, and securing the necessary ECC or CNC, one can avoid the hassle of being
penalized for non-compliance.
One can find the list of violations, prohibited acts, and their correlative fines through this
link: http://119.92.161.2/embgovph/ecac/LGUCorner/ProhibitedActsFinesandPenalties.aspx

Q:

What is needed for an ECC application?

A:

Given that the process for application has been streamlined and made available online,
all that is initially needed is a computer and a printer. The necessary forms and project
descriptions may be filled up there. After filling up the necessary documents, it may be
downloaded for printing and notarization.
The steps to online registration are found in the users guide for ECC application which
can be accessed through this link: http://119.92.161.21/live/Help/Applicant.pdf
But generally the new standardized requirements are as follows:

Category A: EIS
Category B: EIS + Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Checklist19

Q:

Where do I apply for an ECC?

A:

This is the link which leads to the ECC online application system on the website of
EIAMD under EMB: http://119.92.161.21/live/

Q:

What is a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC)?

A:

The CNC is a document issued by the EMB certifying that based on the documents
submitted to them, the project is not covered by the EIS system, and consequently, is
not required to secure an ECC.

15

List of IEE report forms, available at https://119.92.161.2/embgovph/eia/IEEReportForm.aspx (last accessed Jul
12, 2016).
16
PD 1586, Section 9
17
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the
Philippines Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System, DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-30 [DAO No. 200330], Section 16 (Jun. 30, 2003)
18
ECC violation: P7M in fines collected from companies available at http://www.philstar.com/cebunews/2015/11/10/1520350/ecc-violation-p7m-fines-collected-companies (last accessed Jul 12, 2016).
19
EMB MC No. 2014-005

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Q:

Who are covered by a mere CNC?

A:

According to the latest issuances and application forms, those covered by the CNC
application are “Category C”, “Category D”, and “Those projects implemented prior
to 1982”. The last category is relevant because those projects were not yet covered by
PD 1586 (EIS Law), thus they must submit to further scrutiny. Category C projects are
those which directly enhance the quality of the environment or directly address existing
environmental problems. Category D projects are those that do not fall within the EIS
system, but may still opt to secure a CNC. As above-mentioned, it is the best practice to
apply for and secure a CNC.20

Q:

Why do Category C projects have to apply for a CNC?

A:

This is to require all of those proponents concerned to submit the necessary documents
in order for the EMB to determine whether or not the project/s fall under Category C or if
they actually fall under Category A or Category B.21

Q:

Where do I apply for a CNC?

A:

A CNC can be applied for once it is verified that the project is not an ECP, which will be
asked at the beginning of online registration. The website can be reach through this
URL: http://119.92.161.13/projectchecker/onlineapplication.aspx
For assistance with the CNC application and necessary project checking system, one
may access the online steps guide, which illustrates the steps of online CNC application,
through this website: http://119.92.161.13/projectchecker/CNCOnlineSteps.pdf

Q:

What is needed for a CNC application?

A:

For CNC applications, one must apply online and submit a pro-forma project description
for CNC application22 (ANNEX C of EMB MC 2014-005) which can be accessed through
this
link:
http://119.92.161.2/portal/Portals/21/Downloads/Annex%20C%20PD%20for%20CNC%20Applic
ations.pdf

Q:

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

A:

An EIS is defined as follows:
“Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - document, prepared and
submitted by the project proponent and/or EIA Consultant that
serves as an application for an ECC. It is a comprehensive study
of the significant impacts of a project on the environment. It
includes an Environmental Management Plan/Program that the
proponent will fund and implement to protect the environment.”23

20

EMB MC No. 2014-005, Sections 1.1.3-1.1.4
EMB MC No. 2014-005, Section 2.3
22
EMB MC No. 2014-005, Section 2.2
23
DAO No. 2003-30, Section 3-k
21

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Q:

What is found in an EIS?

A:

The following must be found in an EIS:
“Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The EIS should contain at least the following:

a. EIS Executive Summary;
b. Project Description;
c. Matrix of the scoping agreement identifying critical issues
d.
e.

f.
g.
h.

i.
j.
k.

and concerns, as validated by EMB;
Baseline environmental conditions focusing on the sectors
(and resources) most significantly affected by the proposed
action;
Impact assessment focused on significant environmental
impacts (in relation to project construction/commissioning,
operation and decommissioning), taking into account
cumulative impacts;
Environmental Risk Assessment if determined by EMB as
necessary during scoping;
Environmental Management Program/Plan;
Supporting documents, including technical/socio-economic
data used/generated; certificate of zoning viability and
municipal land use plan; and proof of consultation with
stakeholders;
Proposals for Environmental Monitoring and Guarantee
Funds including justification of amount, when required;
Accountability statement of EIA consultants and the project
proponent; and
Other clearances and documents that may be determined
and agreed upon during scoping.”24

DENR MC 2010-1425 and its annexes prescribe the specifics which are required for an
EIS. Also included are the annotated outlines for various Environmental Impact
Assessment Reports.

24

DAO No. 2003-30, Section 5.2.1
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Standardization of Requirements and Enhancement of
Public Participation in the Streamlined Implementation of the Philippines EIS System, DENR Memorandum Circular
No. 2010-14 [DMC No. 2010-14] (Jul 29, 2010) available at
http://119.92.161.2/embgovph/Portals/21/EIA%20LAWS/DENR%20%20MC%202010-14.pdf (last accessed Jul 12,
2016).
25

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Q:

What are other forms that would be relevant in applying for an ECC or CNC?

A:

The latest forms/annexes released are accessible through the following links:

1. http://119.92.161.2/embgovph/eia/ECCRequirementCoverageScreening.aspx This is the mother link containing the three succeeding enumerated
documents.26
2. http://119.92.161.2/portal/Portals/21/Downloads/Annex%20C%20PD%20for%2
0CNC%20Applications.pdf – This is ANNEX C, which is the pro-forma
project description for CNC applications.

3. http://119.92.161.2/portal/Portals/21/Downloads/Annex%20A%20Project%20Th
resholds%20for%20Coverage%20Screening%20and%20Categorization.pdf

This is a chart of various thresholds for screening and determination
of which category a project would fall under and whether or not a
CNC or ECC must be acquired.

4. http://119.92.161.2/portal/Portals/21/Downloads/Annex%20B%20Decision%20C
hart%20for%20Determination%20of%20Requirement.pdf – Decision chart of
documents required for project modification under Categories A-2
and B-2 of the latest classification of projects.27

26

EMB-EIAMD website with list of annexes to EMB MC 2014-005 available at
http://119.92.161.2/embgovph/eia/ECCRequirementCoverageScreening.aspx (last accessed Jul 12, 2016).
27
EMB MC No. 2014-005, Section 2.3

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