Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has lifted the suspension on the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) of some businesses in Boracay, a few weeks before the much-awaited reopening of the world famous resort island.

Cimatu, in his Memorandum Circular 2018-14 dated October 5, gave the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 6 the go signal to lift the suspension on the ECCs issued to “complying” hotels and other establishments on the island.

“In view of the upcoming opening of the Boracay Island on 26 October 2018, after its closure for 6 months, the EMB Regional Office 6 is hereby authorized to lift the suspension of ECCs of all complying hotels and establishments in said island,” Cimatu said in the memo addressed to the regional directors of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and EMB in Western Visayas.

Last July, Cimatu issued a directive suspending the ECCs of all business establishments in Boracay pending a thorough review of their compliance to existing local and national laws.

Memorandum Circular 2018-03, dated July 18, also created a committee composed of representatives from the DENR, EMB, and Mines and Geosciences Bureau to review the compliance of these establishments with their respective ECCs.

In the new memo, Cimatu ordered the committee to continuously monitor all Boracay establishments on their compliance with existing ECCs and environmental management plans.

The DENR chief also directed the committee to submit to him its regular monitoring reports.

“Likewise, the EMB Regional Office 6 shall continue to monitor establishments despite such lifting of suspension of their respective ECCs, and monitor all establishments issued with Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) to ensure their compliance with environmental laws and assure that no violation against the same is committed,” he added.

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment System, ECCs are issued to projects that pose potential risks or impacts on the environment. A project proponent is required to secure an ECC before starting operations.

CNCs, on the other hand, are issued to proposed projects that are unlikely to cause adverse environmental impacts.

The DENR has likewise recently begun to issue Certificates of Conditional Approval (CCAs) to establishments considered to be “90 to 95 per cent compliant” to environmental regulations.

Businesses granted CCAs are those that have fulfilled all DENR-related requirements except that on sewage treatment plants (STPs), which may yet be completed or are still undergoing construction.

The CCA allows establishments to proceed to the Department of Interior and Local Government for assessment of permits, and finally to the Department of Tourism for final accreditation and clearance to operate when the island opens.

Cimatu said the issuance of CCAs was in line with the President’s directive to afford the public the “ease of doing business” with government.

As of October 8, the DENR has issued CCAs to 159 establishments. ###