Victorias mayor calls for probe of foul odor from VMC spillage

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Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to address the foul odor problem in Victorias City.*

Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez asked the Victorias Sangguniang Panlungsod on Tuesday, May 23, to create a fact-finding committee to investigate the molasses spillage in the Malihaw River that has been emitting foul odor in Victorias City.

He assured that the city will prioritize the welfare of the people and the environment.

In a video statement, posted on the Victorias City Facebook page, Benitez said that earlier this month, one of the Victorias Milling Company (VMC) tanks exploded causing molasses spillage in the river, which caused the foul smell in the barangays near the sugar central.

The smell that has been ongoing for two weeks has even hit the city proper, residents said.

The foul smell came from the decomposing molasses, Benitez said, but he added that VMC has assured the city government that they will ramp up the distribution of enzymes and liming in the river.

The city government will create a fact-finding committee together with representatives from the SP, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and VMC to check on what happened, create preventive measures, and find ways to move forward in addressing the problem, Benitez said.

“We are going to implement the full effect of the law and make sure that there will be no eliminating or degrading acts against our natural resources that can affect the welfare of the people,” he said.

Benitez called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue together with various government offices, the Philippine National Police, barangay heads, and VMC.

VMC has already applied enzymes and liming to help eliminate the odor that has affected most of the residents in Victorias. These enzymes are used to hasten decomposition in the wastewater, which can help reduce the foul odor and help kill bad bacteria, he said.

Liming was used to heighten the ph level of the waste water which should be maintained at 6.5-7.0 to thoroughly eliminate the disturbing smell it produces, he added.

Benitez said that during his talks with the officials of VMC, the company assured assistance to the 200 distressed families in Barangays 6A, 13, and 9 where each household will receive 25 kilos of rice every other week.

Meanwhile, VMC has also assured its close coordination with the city government and environment officers regarding the issue.

VMC, in a press statement, said that they have already executed their standard operating measures to contain the odor at their wastewater treatment facility to address the issue in the coming days.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused”, the statement said, adding “We will remain in close coordination with the city government and its environment officers until this matter is fully resolved.”

The Sangguniang Panlungsod has scheduled a legislative inquiry with VMC and other concerned stakeholders on the matter on Wednesday, May 24.*

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