Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Monday the government will push for clean and green energy, promote proper management of water resources and solid waste and ensure responsible mining.
Cimatu, speaking at the gathering of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in Makati City, said his department remained committed to its role in facilitating environmental clearances for investors.
Cimatu told ECCP members the Environment Department recently introduced improvements in the implementation of the Environmental Impact Statement system and the processing and issuance of tree cutting permits for development projects.
“One, we have provided facilities for online application for environmental compliance certificate to shorten the process,” Cimatu said.
“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,” he said.
Cimatu said the department would 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’s 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 said.
Cimatu said the streamlining of issuance of water permit was also being undertaken.
Cimatu said the agency was also fully supporting the Energy Department in the implementation of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
He said the department was actively promoting the deployment of clean and green energy sources through the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanismand the recently signed Joint Credit Mechanism 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.
Executive Order No. 320 designated the Environment Department as the national authority for CDM, with its Environmental Management Bureau as the secretariat. 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.
Cimatu said the agency was working hard to address the issue of landfills and dumpsites by promoting the use of waste-to-energy (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.
Cimatu also noted ongoing efforts to improve the management of the country’s water resources.
He said water resources assessment was 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.
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