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Gov’t sets tougher ECC application procedure

Companies that produce sand and gravel now face a tighter application process for an environment compliance certificate (ECC), which is an important permit needed to develop a prospect and bring it into production stage.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Memorandum Circular No. 006, Series of 2016, which the department said was meant to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the mining sector.

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Through the memo, the DENR said that starting last May 14, only the ECC applications of entities or corporations whose names appeared on the government-issued Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) or the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) would be processed.

“No new application for an ECC shall be processed and issued in the name of any applicant unless the same applicant shall be the entity or corporation as reflected in an MPSA and/or FTAA,” the memo stated.

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This new requirement applies to all new applications for ECC for the operations related to sand and gravel as approved by concerned Provincial Mining Regulatory Board, or industrial sand and gravel as approved by the concerned MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) Regional Office.

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said in a statement the new regulation aims to ensure the consistency in the implementation of the country’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System and Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

The EIS System was designed to safeguard the country’s environment and natural resources against growing industrialization and urbanization.

“It should be established that the ECC applicant is the same as that designated in the MPSA or FTAA,” Paje said.

“It is the responsibility of PMRBs and MGB regional offices to ensure that new ECC applications for sand and gravel quarry projects comply with this requirement,” he said. “Sand and gravel count among the most extracted and widely consumed natural resources which we have to regulate.”

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