ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)The country’s statutory framework requiring EnvironmentalImpact Assessment (EIA) for all projects that will affectenvironmental quality is embodied in Presidential Decree(PD) 1151 of 1977.The Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System(PEISS) established through Presidential Decree 1586 in1978 sets a systematic EIA System to ensure that the Filipinopeople will enjoy a “balanced and healthy ecology” in themidst of intensive economic development.
The PEISS takes its roots in the provisions of the PhilippineConstitution which states that “The State shall protect andadvance the right of the people to a balanced and healthfulecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”.It requires Environmental Impact Statements (EIS – a Reporton the EIA Results) to be submitted to the NationalEnvironmental Protection Council (NEPC), now theEnvironmental Management Bureau (EMB) of theDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)for review and evaluation.
It further stipulates that the President or his duly authorizedrepresentative issues the Environmental ComplianceCertificate (ECC) for a positive review of the EIA Reportfor Environmentally Critical Projects (ECP) and projectswithin Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA).Administrative Order No. 42 specifies that the DENRSecretary, as alter ego of the President, has the power togrant or deny ECCs on behalf of the President and furtherdesignates the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)Central and Regional Directors as approving authorities forECC applications.
What is EIA?• Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)represents both a process and a set ofinformation.• It is normally undertaken in compliance withenvironmental laws to determine theenvironmental effects of a proposed action priorto its implementation.• It is a management tool to arrive at the rightdecisions and not as a means to justifypredetermined notions.
How to come up with the right decisions?Resource managers need to know…• Environmental impact of the projects;• Possible costs on environmental resources• The risk of causing irreversible changes.EIA provides the answers by• describing the proposed action and alternatives;• predicting the nature and magnitude of likelyenvironmental changes;• identifying the relevant human concerns;
• defining to be used in measuring the significance ofenvironmental changes;• Including relative weighing given to differentchanges;• Estimating the significance of predictedenvironmental changes;• Recommending acceptance or rejection of theproject;• Recommending inspection procedures to befollowed after the action is completed.
OVERVIEW: PHILIPPINE EIA SYSTEMAn Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a"process that involves predicting and evaluating thelikely impacts of a project (including cumulativeimpacts) on the environment duringconstruction, commissioning, operation andabandonment.
In the country, the Philippine Environmental ImpactStatement System (PEISS) established throughPresidential Decree (PD) 1586 in 1978 sets asystematic EIA System and the EnvironmentalManagement Bureau (EMB) of the Department ofEnvironment and Natural Resources (DENR) ismandated as the lead agency in the implementationof the System.
As a basic principle, the Philippine EIA System is usedto enhance planning and guide decision making.Through the EIA process, adverse environmentalimpacts of proposed actions are intended to beconsiderably reduced through the subsequentformulation of appropriate EnvironmentalManagement and Monitoring Plans.
A positive review of the EIA Report results to theissuance of an Environmental ComplianceCommitment (ECC) document to be conformed to bythe Proponent and represents theproject/program’s Environmental ComplianceCertificate .
The issuance of the ECC which is requiredfor Environmentally Critical Projects (ECPs) andprojects within Environmentally Critical Areas (ECAs)allows the project to proceed to the next stage ofproject planning which is the acquisition of approvalsfrom other government agencies and LGUs, afterwhich the project can start implementation.
THE EIA PROCESS IN RELATION TO ENFORCEMENTOF OTHER LAWSThe PEISS is supplementary and complementary to otherexisting environmental laws.As early as the projects Feasibility Study (FS) stage, theEIA process identifies the likely issues or impacts thatmay be covered later by regional environmental permitsand other regulatory bodies permitting requirements.
In addition, where there are yet no standards or wherethere is a lack of explicit definitions in existing laws, theEIA process fills in the gap and provides appropriatecover for environmental protection and enhancement-related actions.For example, the planting of greenbelts is not arequirement under any environmental law but isincluded in the ECC as a contractual obligation andcommitment of the project proponent to the DENR.
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENRis the lead agency tasked to coordinate theimplementation of the EIA system in the country andrecommends the issuance of ECC for environmentallycritical projects.Two Types of Documents may be required in the EIAProcess:1. Project Description (PD)2. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Project Description (PD) – is essentially a briefdescription of the proposed undertaking and therequired resources. This is required if the project isnon-critical but is to be located in an environmentallycritical area.Environmentally Impact Statement (EIS) – is a detailedand in-depth analysis of the environmentalconsequence of a particular project.
Generally, the Philippine EIA process, is composed of thefollowing steps:1. Any project proponent should initially determinewhether the project falls within the EIS system.2. If the project falls within the EIA system, either thePD or the EIS is submitted to the relevant DENRRegional Office or the EMB.3. The EIA Group of either the EMB or the DENRRegional Office, with the assistance of the EIA ReviewCommittee, conducts evaluation of the submitteddocuments and recommends one of the followingactions:
a. Issuance of an ECC with the necessary stipulations,b. Requirement of additional information from theproject proponent,c. Denial of the ECCd. The additional information from the proponents, ifany, will be reviewed and evaluated, and a visualinspection of the project site may be conductedbefore the ECC is granted.e. A public hearing may be held for certain projects, inaccordance with set criteria involving magnitude andcontroversy.
Guidelines for Reviewing EIA Report1. Documentation aspect which pertains to the physicalacceptance, contents, and format of the report.2. Substantive aspect which pertains to the accuracy ofdata and integrity of the information presented in thereport.3. Assessment aspect which pertains to the quality ofthe analysis of impacts.
Description or Category of Enterprise, Construction orDevelopment which require Environmental Impact AssessmentIndustrial projects* power generation plants* electrical transmission lines and substations 115 KV orgreater* chemical manufacturing plants* wood pulp and paper processing* paint manufacture* petroleum refinery* food processing large scale* fish and meat processing, large scale
* tanneries* electroplating/metal planting* ferrous and non-ferrous metal processing* mining and mineral processing- bauxite- peat- sand, minerals* detergent manufacture* distillery* cement and lime production* textile manufacture* pesticide or other hazardous or toxic substancesmanufacture
Development projects* subdivisions of 10 or more lots* housing projects of 10 houses or more* highway and road construction or remodelling* railway lines* hotel/resort complex of 12 rooms or more* airports including runway expansion greater than 20%* harbour and port including dredging* office complex >5000 sq. metres* pipelines and conveyors >15 cm includingunderground cables, gas line* construction of new highways, arterial roads andmajor road improvement
* river basin development projectsOther projects* cemeteries and crematoriums* solid waste treatment and disposal facility includingagricultural waste* water treatment facilities (water supply, desalinationplants sewage and industrial waste water)* hazardous waste storage, treatment and disposalfacilities