Environmental impact statement as a regulatory scheme for EIA
- The environmental impact statement (EIS) system in the Philippines requires all government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations, and private companies to prepare an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for any project or activity that substantially effects the quality of the environment. The Philippine EIS system is very comprehensive and entails an EIA being conducted to study the relationship between a proposed project and its surrounding environment. Not only does the EIS system emphasize the regulation of industrial pollution, but also aims at protecting natural resources, fragile ecosystems and the rights of local communities. Aside from being a regulatory scheme, the EIS plays a role of a comprehensive planning and management instrument as well. The system is the process of predicting the likely environmental consequences of implementing projects or undertakings and designing appropriate preventive, mitigation and enhancement measures.
Establishment of environmental units
- The recent Executive Order 291, dated 12 January 1996, aimed at improving the EIA system in the Philippines, has encouraged the establishment of Environmental Units (EUs) in all implementing government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions. Meanwhile, agencies with mandates that include the introduction of physical plants and infrastructure are required to create their own EUs. The envisaged functions of those EUs are: (a) EUs of national government agencies and GOCCs will assist in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), ensure that their respective agencies/GOCCs meet the procedural requirements of the EIS system, facilitate the securing of the environmental clearance certificates (ECCs) of their respective projects and, upon securing ECCs, will ensure compliance by the project with the ECC conditions; and (b) EUs of the government financial institutions will ensure that loans or related funding applications from government and private institutions comply with the EIS system.
Separational problems of EIS
1. There are several problems in the operations of the EIS system in the Philippines: there is lack of capacity to fully carry out the EIS system, particularly in the remote province; there is insufficient mapping of the environmentally critical areas in the country in which EIAs are required of developmental projects; and last but most significant, there is the lack of compliance with the EIS system. Obvious violations exist, specifically in smaller-scale and less-publicized projects.