- GILBERT BAYORAN
A “Task Force Molasses Spill” was organized by Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez to study, monitor, and recommend actions to be taken by the city government, on the spillage of molasses from the tank of the Victorias Milling Company into the Malihaw River.
The spillage is also being blamed for the strong foul odor that affected thousands of city residents.
Benitez said that the city government, in tandem with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and its Environmental Management Bureau, will also study possible complaints to be filed against VMC as a result of the incident.
During the inquiry Wednesday, May 24, by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Victorias, it was found out that about three metric tons, equivalent to 1.8 million liters of molasses, spilt into the Malihaw River, Councilor Dino Acuña, chairperson of the SP Committee on Natural Resources and Environment Protection, said.
VMC representatives admitted the spillage.
Benitez said that when the spilt molasses was diverted to VMC ponds to prevent it from further flowing into the river, the treatment process of wastewater was disrupted which caused the foul odor.
VMC officials, who presented their plan of action to address the molasses spillage and foul odor, disclosed during the SP inquiry that it may take a month and a week for the stench to be completely addressed.
They said that the company is trying its best to resolve the issue.
Benitez said he was informed that VMC will no longer use the tank where the spillage originated.
He said they will monitor closely the effort of the VMC to resolve the incident.
A total of 11 barangays of Victorias City, majority of which are located in the poblacion, were affected by the foul odor from the VMC wastewater facilities which are now filled with spilt molasses./GB