On-line Application for Certificate of Non-Coverage in the Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 13 2008

An on-line application process facilitates the evaluation and issuance of Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System. A considerable amount of resources are saved, both by the applicant and the concerned agency.

Responsible Party: 
Enforcement Agency
I. Objectives or Impact: 

An on-line application process facilitates the evaluation and issuance of Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System. A considerable amount of resources are saved, both by the applicant and the concerned agency.

Sector/subsector:

Non-environmentally critical projects located in non- environmental critical areas, as defined by Presidential Decree 1586 (1978), are not covered by the environmental impact system and as such do not require the preparation of an environmental impact statement. However, a number of project lenders and businesses request for a certificate of non-coverage to establish with certainty that the project is exempted from the EIA process.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

The standard practice was for the project proponent or his representative to secure the forms from the nearest Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) office, fill the forms, and submit it back to the office for evaluation. The EMB office evaluates the submission and informs the project proponent within five working days of the results of the evaluation. Upon receipt of the confirmation, the project proponent pays the applicable fees and collects the CNC.

The process is time consuming especially for applicants who are located far from the EMB regional offices. This is made difficult as well since there are only 13 regional offices serving more than seventy provinces. The project proponent has to go to the regional office three times, first to get the forms, then to submit the forms, and finally to collect the CNC. In fact, the travel time and cost of travel alone could be several times more expensive than the CNC fees. Most often, the project proponent also disturbs the EMB staff from more important workload.

With the improved system, the application form is posted on the Internet. On-line, the project proponent fills it, and submits it electronically. He also submits scanned or fax copies to the concerned EMB office. If he meets all the requirements, he is asked to submit to the EMB office a certified true copy of all the supporting documents, present to the responsible EMB officer the original documents, pay the processing fees, and finally collect the CNC. If the submission is insufficient to support the application, he is informed of the deficiency through electronic mail, rather taking a trip to the EMB regional office.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

The practice reduced the cost of securing the CNC, allows more thorough evaluation of the documentation submitted by EMB staff as they are not under pressure by the presence of the project proponent or his representative who has travelled more than a 100km or so. Lastly, the electronic forms make the evaluation process more transparent, predictable, and consistent.

IV. Essential Elements for Success: 

Policy Framework: Enabling Policy, Regulation, Inter-agency/Multiparty Agreements

The Supreme Court of the Philippines clarified the coverage of the EIA system. Non-environmentally critical projects located in non-environmentally critical areas are exempted. As such the EIA guidelines were revised in August 2007 to reflect the Supreme Court Decision and streamline the implementation of the EIA system.

Human Resources and Skills

Personnel in the regional and central office were trained to retrieve and evaluate the submissions. If in doubt, the staff at the regional office could send an email and ask for assistance from the EIA central office personnel. The EIA central office staff may also refer the problem to the Director EMB for direction if clarifications on the submissions are required.

Material and Resources

A key component in the implementation is the availability of internet connection in the EMB regional offices, key municipalities and cities where most of the project proponents have their businesses. As the practice involves transmittal of scanned documents, internet dial up connection is often insufficient. For this reason, project proponents are given the option of sending the documentation through fax.

Institutional Support

The project was developed with financial support from the Asian Development Bank.

V. Further Information: 

References and Publications:

Presidential Decree 1586 (1978)
Supreme Court of the Philippines
EIA Guidelines of August 2007

Contact Persons and Address:

www.emb.gov.ph