1-hectare housing for the poor exempted from geohazard assessment

july 5, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Socialized housing project for the poor and disadvantaged sector is exempted from complying the Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment (EGGA) which is a sub-requirement to securing the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

This was bared by Alnulfo Alvarez, chief of the Environment Management Bureau of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-XI based in Davao City.

Socialized housing project for the poor such as the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) is exempted provided the project area is one hectare or less and if it is obviously not within environmentally critical area such as it is situated in an agricultural area, he said.

Producing the EGGA Report (EGGAR) done by a licensed geologist is one big complaint of homeowners associations vying to avail of the government’s CMP program. EGGAR is costly and a report said the geologist preparer asked for P300,000 fee for a 5-hectare CMP project.

Alvarez said that if the project is situated in an agricultural area, the project proponent would have to secure a land conversion certificate from the Dept. of Agrarian Reform.

He said that the EMB could still proceed acting on the ECC application of the socialized housing proponent with only the Land Use Conversion Application to DAR attached to the ECC Application.

He further said that ECC application is easy and not costly to comply with these days with only P4,000 application fee and ten maximum requirements using the easy-to-comply pro-forma documents of the EMB.

“What is most important for ECC applicants is that their project is within the residential zone of the municipality or city,” he added.

In 2000, following the known Cherry Hill Tragedy, the DENR introduced EGGAR as an additional requirement of ECC application.

DENR AO 2000-28 was issued with the intention of adequately and comprehensively addressing and mitigating the possible effects and impacts of geologic hazards. This order requires that all proponents of subdivision development projects, housing projects and other land development and infrastructure projects, private or public, shall undertake an Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment (EGGA).

The DENR then cited that by reason of its geographic, geologic and tectonic
setting, the Philippines is prone to several geologic and natural hazards that include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and major mass movements.

Geologic events that caused enormous destruction to lives and property were the earthquake of Luzon on July 16, 1990 and the eruption of Pinatubo Volcano on June 13, 1991. Both incidents killed thousands of human lives and destroyed millions of dollars of property. Until that date, the government was still in dire need of an effective and legalized system to mitigate the disastrous effects of such geologic processes.

In August 1999, suburban Cherry Hills Subdivision located on a hilly section of Antipolo City experienced a disaster in which torrential rains for 3 consecutive days triggered a landslide that cost the lives of over 50 people and rendered hundreds more homeless. Despite exposing itself to criticism for putting up a rather reactionary stance, the government proceeded to issue DENR AO 2000-28 as its long-term response to the urgent need of protecting lives and property from destruction brought about by such geologic hazards. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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