ECC or CNC, which one do I need?

If you are constructing any project in the Philippines, you will have to get an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) or Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB). So how does one tell which one they need to apply for?

The DENR-EMB Memorandum Circular (MC) 2014-005, is the main reference for classifying a project under the Philippine Environmental Impact Study (EIS) System. Depending on what industry the project falls under, the project may be classified as:

  • Category A – an Environmentally Critical Project (ECP) required to secure an ECC
  • Category B – a Non-Environmentally Critical Project (Non-ECP) required to secure an ECC
  • Category C – Not Covered by the Philippine EIS System may secure CNC

The basis for categorization is different per industry. But regardless of the thresholds used: 

  • Category A projects – must submit a full EIS to the DENR-EMB Central Office 
  • Category B projects – can be big or small
    • Big projects – require a full EIS submission to the DENR-EMB Regional Office
    • Small projects – require an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Checklist (online submission)
  • Category C Projects – require the preparation of a Project Description (PD) for submission online with a CNC application

For example, let us look at Section 3 “Resource Extractive Industries” subsection 2.2.4, “Grazing Projects”:

Sample Thresholds for Grazing Projects

The first thing we want to look at is the bottom row, which shows us the kind of threshold that applies for the industry of our project. We can see that categorization depends on Animal Units. Let us assume that our example project has 150 Animal Units. This would mean that the project is:

  1. Covered by the Philippine EIS System and required to secure an ECC (top row)
  2. Categorized as a Category B project, Non-ECP (2nd row)
  3. Required to submit an EIS to the DENR-EMB Regional Office (3rd row)

All industries are covered in MC 2014-005, allowing any project proponent to screen their project and determine what their requirements are. If you need help screening your project you can call at (02) 8929-2778 or email us at We can also prepare EIS submissions, IEE Checklists, and provide guidance on CNC applications.