Bacolod City – Following the molasses spill into a Victorias City river, and foul odor emanating from the Victorias Milling Company waste water treatment facility, Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez vowed to fully implement the “full effect” of the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.
“There should be a better way to prevent this from happening again,” Benitez said, apparently referring the spillage last month of an estimated 3,000 metric tons of molasses from a VMC tank into the Malihaw River, followed by a foul odor from its waste water treatment facility.
A month after the incident, Benitez said the foul odor emanating from sugar milling company waste water treatment ponds is now minimal, as VMC increased their liming to reach a certain level. He, however, said they had to wait for a month and a week for the foul odor to be addressed.
“The city is very serious when it comes to the general welfare of our people. We are also serious about the damage to our natural resources, especially the bodies of water, where many of our fisherfolks, especially in Brgy. 6A get their livelihood. It has a ripple effect on other livelihoods and industries in Victorias City,” Benitez stressed during a press briefing at the Victorias City Hall.
The neophyte mayor also acknowledged the effort of VMC management in extending foodstuff assistance to more than 2,000 households in directly affected Brgy. XIII.
VMC already decommissioned its 10,000 metric ton tank that spilled the molasses.
The recovered spilled molasses that was disposed into the sugar milling company water treatment facility emitted an unpleasant rancid odor that affected residents of Victorias City.
Asked if he is satisfied with how VMC addressed the spillage problem and foul odor, Benitez said his team reported that “they are very serious and very concerned.”
“They are doing their best to resolve these. I’m sure they don’t want this to happen. It is damaging their reputation,” he said.
The Victorias City Council, in an approved resolution, enjoined Mayor Benitez to forge a memorandum of agreement with VMC, relative to their rehabilitative actions to address the molasses spill, which includes mitigating, contingency, and control measures, both in short and long term plans, river and cleanup activities, community service and assistance plans, and other measures that can help alleviate the suffering of Victoriahanons, brought about by the continued spread of rancid odor.
Because of the incident, possible legal actions are also being mulled against VMC. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)