Senator Joel Villanueva filed a resolution seeking to inquire and review the approval and monitoring process of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the applications of Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs).
Villanueva sought the inquiry in relation to the recent issue surrounding Boracay Island where some establishments in the area were found non-compliant to environmental laws.
The DENR disclosed that 300 establishments in Boracay Island would be served notices of violation and be subjected under the review of the department’s regional office.
These establishments were given a window of two months to install their own wastewater treatment facilities or to connect to the Boracay Island Water Company sewage treatment plant.
The DENR had also given notices of violation (NOV) to 51 unnamed establishments found violating one of the provisions of the Clean Water Act of 2004, which mandates all commercial and residential establishments to dispose septic waste through a treatment facility.
Furthermore, the department is set to serve 174 show-cause orders to illegal forest occupants who have encroached on the Island’s timberland areas.
The said initiatives are the DENR’s response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte after likening Boracay to a “cesspool” and warned that the government would shut the island down due to pollution.
According to the Boracay Foundation, Inc., the threatened closure would result in the loss of jobs of an estimated 90,000 workers.
Under Senate Resolution No. 646, the legislator cited the need to review the conduct of environmental impact assessment and the approval process of the DENR with regard to applications for ECCs.
The lawmaker’s recommendation seeks to ensure that the ECCs being issued to any undertaking or project would guarantee that it would not cause environmental damage or aggravate the impact of climate change.
The senator from Bulacan further called on the DENR to upgrade the process of environmental assessment and issuance of ECC.
“Businesses and industries should account for the possible impact of their operations in aggravating the impact of climate change. Our regulatory agencies should also improve their capacity in monitoring compliance and enforcement of environmental policies,” he said.
The proliferation of private establishments in the Boracay Island and the poor monitoring and enforcement of environmental laws have resulted in massive environmental damage in the Island, which threatens the viability of the Island as a prime tourist destination.
“The proliferation of private establishments in the Boracay Island and the poor monitoring and enforcement of environmental laws have resulted in massive environmental damage in the Island, which threatens the viability of the Island as a prime tourist destination,” Villanueva stressed.