DENR cancels ECCs of 6 companies

Posted on January 19, 2017

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has canceled the environmental compliance certificates (ECC) of six projects including those of four mining companies, for failing to operate within their certificates’ validity period.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez noted that the validity of the ECCs for these projects have expired, in accordance with existing laws in which a project’s ECC is deemed expired five years after the project’s failure to launch.

These projects with expired ECCs are Intex Resources Philippines, Inc., whose $2.5-billion nickel project in Occidental Mindoro is scheduled for operations next year; Mejore Wood Works, Inc.’s project in Surigao del Sur; Forum Cebu Coal Corp.’s coal mining project in Cebu; CEKAS Development Corp.’s mining projects in Misamis Oriental covering iron, copper, and other minerals; and Eagelerock Mining Corp.’s gold mining and processing project in Zamboanga del Sur.

Alltech Contractors, Inc.’s Coastal Bay Land Reclamation Project Land in Parañaque City also had its ECC canceled. Ms. Lopez said this project may interfere with her agency’s plan on massive mangrove planting.

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the press conference, Undersecretary for Legal Maria Paz G. Luna explained that sending out issuance letters to companies on the cancelation of their ECCs serves to remind them of the need to reassess the environmental impact of those projects to their concerned communities.

“The reason the ECC lapses is because it becomes a different environment... so we set the five-year lapse,” Ms. Luna said, adding.

“It’s better to have paper notices because otherwise, bigla silang mag-start up sabihin nila, ‘May ECC pa kami,’ tapos makalimutan nila, five years na pala [they might suddenly start up saying, ‘We have the ECCs, and they’ll forget five years have already passed].”

Ms. Luna said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had sent show-cause orders to these companies as early as last week.

To recall, the agency also affirmed the cancelation of ECCs of five projects last December, also on the same grounds, including that of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc.’s Ipilan nickel mine in Palawan.

Earlier this month, the firm said it filed a complaint against the department to reconsider its decision to cancel the ECC of its Ipilan project, saying that the DENR had approved only recently some documents on the operation of the nickel project.

Ms. Luna said she has yet to receive any motion for reconsideration on the matter. -- Janina C. Lim