DENR-EMB unveils improved online system for issuance of permit to operate

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) virtually launched on August 18 its “new and improved” online system for the issuance of the Permit to Operate (PTO) and asked for public feedback.

EMB Assistant Director Vizminda A. Osorio said during the event that the enhanced Online Permitting and Monitoring System (OPMS) for PTO was launched to better serve the agency’s industry partners and stakeholders.

The OPMS for PTO version 2.0 is a web application developed by the EMB to provide end-to-end-solutions for environmental compliance, specifically for air pollution source installation (APSI) or equipment.

An APSI is any building or fixed structure, facility or installation that emits or may emit any pollutant. APSIs include generator sets, boilers, rice mills, furnaces, kilns and turbines, among others.

Under Republic Act No. 8749 or the Clean Air Act, all sources of air pollution are required to apply for a valid PTO. This requirement covers all companies and industries whose business activity or equipment has the potential to emit regulated air pollutants.

On May 11, 2021, EMB released Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-17 mandating that the PTO should be issued through the OPMS. The directive is also in response to the need of EMB’s stakeholders to be environmentally compliant despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as applicants no longer have to physically visit the EMB offices to apply for their permits.

DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna during the launch ceremony added that the new OPMS for PTO is designed for easy navigation by stakeholders. The system also features improved PTO application types, streamlines requirements, and corrects previous glitches.

To know if you are required to secure a PTO, visit and click on the “Laws & Policies for Air Quality Management” tab and download EMB MC 2020-17 and read Annex C.

Regarding the APSI category, download MC 2007-003 and view annex 2.

An instructional video on the process of applying for the PTO through the OPMS was also premiered at the online launch.

To access the OPMS, visit, click on the “Air Quality Management Permits” link then proceed to “PTO Online.”

The applicant should register by filling out the registration form with the correct details and providing copies of the required IDs and authorization letter.

There are four application types provided in the system. The Temporary PTO must be applied by companies whose sources are required to conduct emission testing and it is valid for 90 days.

The Temporary to Regular PTO must be applied by companies whose temporary permit has been issued and has conducted emission testing. This permit has a validity of four years and nine months.

The Regular PTO, which has a five-year validity, must be applied by firms whose sources are not required to conduct source emission testing.

A company is required to apply for an amendment for any changes in the APSI, name, ownership or operation.

A PTO must be renewed via OPMS 30 days before it expires.

The PTO fee may be paid through the EMB regional office cashier or a Land Bank Biz Portal or online payment.

On the issuance of the PTO, you can track the status of your application by opening your OPMS account and clicking “My Applications,” said EMB.

EMB has a maximum of 20 working days to issue the PTO once the applicant submits the requirements.

“Regularly check your OPMS account as our EMB personnel may have questions or clarifications,” the agency said.

If you still have not received your PTO after 20 days, the EMB suggests sending a follow-up letter or email to the EMB regional office.

The bureau said the OPMS will go live in one to two weeks’ time as it is still being rid of some glitches.

Meantime, Osorio urged stakeholders to “browse these improvements” and submit their comments or suggestions so these can be incorporated before the system is fully implemented.

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