Cimatu bares DENR's investor-friendly initiatives

Published on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 02:46
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Cimatu bares DENR's investor-friendly initiatives

           Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured foreign investors that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to push for clean and green energy, promote proper management of water resources and solid waste, and ensure responsible mining.

          Speaking at the gathering of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) on Thursday in Makati City, Cimatu also said that the DENR remains committed to its role in facilitating the ease of obtaining environmental clearances for investors.

        Cimatu gladly told ECCP members that the DENR has recently introduced some improvements in the implementation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIA) system, as well as in the processing and issuance of tree cutting permits for development projects.

          "One, we have provided facilities for on-line application for environmental compliance certificate to shorten the process," Cimatu said.

           He added: "Two, authority to issue cutting permits of planted trees has been delegated to the regional office. Further delegation to the PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) and CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office) is being considered."

           The environment chief disclosed that the streamlining of issuance of water permit is also being undertaken.

           In pushing for clean and green energy, Cimatu said the DENR fully supports the Department of Energy in the implementation of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

       Cimatu said the agency has been actively promoting the deployment of clean and green energy sources through the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the recently signed Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM) between the Philippines and Japan.

          CDM is a financial mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol which enables developed countries, such as ECCP member countries, to implement cost-effective emission reduction projects in developing countries. 

          By virtue of Executive Order No. 320, the DENR has been designated as the national authority for CDM, with its Environmental Management Bureau as the secretariat.

          So far, there are a total of 119 CDM project applications received, of which 70 projects have been successfully registered comprising of 21 large-scale and 49 small-scale projects. Most of these are renewable energy initiatives.

         Meanwhile, JCM is a low carbon growth partnership between Japan and the Philippines. It facilitates greenhouse gas emission reductions or removals through projects implemented by companies or cities from the partner countries.

         JCM is expected to promote the transfer and use of clean and green technology. Potential projects under the mechanism are in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste handling and disposal.

         Cimatu said the DENR is working hard to address the issue of landfills and dumpsites by promoting the use of waste-to-energy (WTE) or the process of generating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the primary treatment of waste.

       "WTE technologies and projects are starting to gain momentum in the Philippines. There are now quite a number of projects making use of WTE technologies," Cimatu said.

        He cited three WTE projects in the country that are supported by European countries: The Quezon City Controlled Disposal Facility Biogas Emission Reduction Project supported by Switzerland and Italy; the Montalban Landfill Methane Recovery and Power Generation Project by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and the Cebu City Landfill Gas and Waste to Energy project by Spain.

            Cimatu also noted ongoing efforts to improve the management of the country's water resources.

          He revealed that water resources assessment is being conducted in water constraint areas and major river basins in order to come up with more informed and science-based policies and plans for systematic water resource allocation and development for various purposes.

        To ensure the protection and orderly development of the country's water resources, Cimatu said the National Water Resources Board continuously formulates and implements appropriate water policies.

         As regards ensuring responsible mining, Cimatu said the DENR will continue to "strictly enforce mining and environmental regulations, and mining operations found violating laws, rules and regulations shall be subject to penalties, suspensions and/or cancellation."

         "Mining in the Philippines can only be responsible if the development of the country‚Äôs mineral resources will be on the basis of technical feasibility, environmental sustainability, cultural and social acceptability and financial viability. The absence of one will not render the project responsible," Cimatu pointed out.