The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, has joined other business groups in asking the Department of Environment to extend for three years without penalties the deadline on businesses’ compliance to water and effluent standards.

“The PCCI has also called on the DENR to extend to three years, without penalties, the grace period for the enforcement of the (DAO) 2016-08: Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standard from its effectivity on June 18, 2021,” said the PCCI in a statement. 

DAO 2016-08 covers all businesses, including micro and small, commercial establishments, offices and institutions. Non-compliance will be imposed with penalties for a minimum of P10,000 daily, provided for under Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

PCCI also joined other business groups seeking the extension aside from the asking the Senate to include environmental regulatory relief provision for the industry in the proposed Bayanihan Act 3 to help businesses cope with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PCCI President Bendicto V. Yujuico, in a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, said that compliance with standards imposed under the DAO  2016-08 would entail substantial capital investment, operational and maintenance expenses which may hamper the recovery of business from the devastating impact of the pandemic. 

“Given the present situation, we appeal to our government to reconsider the implementation of this DAO 2016-08, at least to give businesses a grace period of three years. We cannot afford at this time to add burden, especially to MSMEs that are trying to recover from this pandemic,” Yujuico said.

He added that all businesses are facing many difficulties particularly in trying to fulfill the Compliance Action Plan (CAP) required under the DAO, which include among others, travel restrictions, reduced manpower deployment, lack of technology and limited financial resources.

Yujuico said that under Bayanihan 1 & 2, the government provided relief measures to stimulate the economy, these include the provision of financial assistance to affected industry, streamlining of business permitting and licensing system, extension of deadlines and waiving of imposition of penalties and interest on non-compliance with their respective regulations, among others.  Environmental regulatory relief was however not included.

PCCI is also recommending a relief from imposition of penalties and issuances of notice of violation to assist businesses in their respective recovery efforts.

PCCI Director for the Environment Committee and Climate Change Committee Jose P. Leviste, Jr. said that the environmental relief that will be provided to industry will not compromise the environment as DENR will continue to enforce alla environmental laws and constant monitoring of effluents levels will still be performed. 

 “We fully support the objectives of DAO No. 2016-08 to ensure the sustainability and quality of our water bodies and waterways, but this needs to be balanced with the realities we face during the COVID pandemic.  Our proposal is an attempt to strike that balance,” concluded the business groups. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (