16 Years in Service
The Regional Office of EMB is now on its 16th year of service since its establishment on January 2000. Despite the pressing environmental challenges besetting the Bureau including the need for additional budget and manpower complement, new projects and improvements were introduced to better serve the people, for the improvement of public service and to protect and preserve the environment. Paramount to our six (6) mandates as a government agency is “ Matapat na serbisyo para sa kapakanan ng mamamayang Pilipino.” Our Regional Office managed to accomplish our yearly targets and achieved the following:
Milestones and Achievements
Established the EIA Review Fund and Environmental Revolving Fund – the creation of additional funding source and mechanism is essential for the effective operation of the newly established Regional Office from its former EMPAS set-up. Hence, the EIA Review Fund System was operationalized in February 2000 with the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) serving as the Fund Manager. The fund collected by the NRDC amounting to Php 1.3 million for that year provided for the lack of manpower and supplies of the EMB Regional Office which was able to employ additional 12 contractual technical and non-technical personnel and acquire the needed office supplies and equipment.
Assessment of sites allegedly contaminated with toxic wastes in Clarkfield, Pampanga – EMB Region III came up with an Action Plan and started the preliminary assessment of sites allegedly contaminated with toxic wastes in Clarkfield, Pampanga in coordination with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region III. Geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological mapping were made to characterize the area. Sampling of the 50 existing monitoring wells were conducted to determine if there is indeed contamination and to assess the extent and level of contamination if there is any. Groundwater sampled revealed an exceedance only in the level of zinc and iron. The study is not conclusive as there is a need to do more sampling and analyses and the Regional Office was constrained with its limited budget and incapability of the laboratory to conduct organic analysis.
Established partnerships with various sectors including the Environmental Practitioners Association (EPA) – The EMB Regional Office with its limited budget and personnel find it imperative to engage the participation of various sectors in the region to meet its objectives and targets and to address the environmental challenges facing the region.
Drafted a proposal for the establishment of an agro-industrial zone in the region –Piggery and poultry operation has been a major concern for EMB because of the growing number of complaints and the projects contribution to the pollution load of water bodies in the region. Regional Director Lormelyn E. Claudio came up with the proposal. The concept is to relocate these projects to a more suitable area equipped with common pollution control facilities. The proposal is to tie –up with financiers such as the DBP and Landbank to facilitate the funds needed for the establishment of the agro- industrial area and the construction of pollution control facilities.
Initiated the development of a relocation site for small scale gold-smelting operations in Meycauayan, Bulacan- Regional Director Lormelyn E. Claudio initiated the development of a long term plan on the relocation of the said plants to appropriate area/s equipped with pollution control devices and facilities. These smelting plants have been operating for years without Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs), Permits to Operate (POs) or even pollution control devices which generate various pollution complaints from the adjacent residential communities.
Director Claudio also created a Task Force which spearheaded the establishment of a “cluster Multipartite Monitoring Team” (MMT) to monitor the operations of the smelting plants.
System improvement and cost-cutting measures – Among the many problems besetting the Office at that time are administrative and logistical in nature and are mainly due to the lack of efficient management systems in place. As an austerity measure, RD Claudio ordered to limit the use of telegrams to urgent concerns/meetings only and instead, notices of meeting were sent via registered mail or fax. This cut the expenses of the Office on telegrams by 75%.
Applications for LUCs, ECCs, Authority to Construct and Permit to Operate were screened first to avoid the need for additional information requirements and calling the proponents to a meeting. To streamline the processing and improve the documentation of ECC, LUC, PO and AC applications, the use of checklists, proforma worksheets were introduced. Screening and scoping forms, LUC and ECC review and evaluation forms as well as ECC Compliance Monitoring Report forms were drafted and used.