BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission has referred to Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu the complaint of a village chief in Cadiz City over the alleged illegal dumping by Victorias Milling Company of its alcohol distillery’s wastewater into a river than cuts across several towns and cities in the northern part of this province.
The complainant, Rodel Evidente, heads Burgos, a village of more than 5,000 residents in Cadiz City, located in the downstream of the river.
“This is the latest action taken over our complaint,” Evidente told DNX as he pointed out that the village council had already passed a resolution 24 February requesting “all appropriate government agency” particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources concerning the operations of the VMC distillery located in the village of Purisima in Manapla town where the distillery is located.
The firm was sought for comment by DNX but did not provide any statement.
An employee from its human resource department got the contact numbers of DNX and said an official will be in touch to provide a reaction shortly after.
That call never came.
The village resolution was passed by village councilors Rosalia Grave, Rodolfo Lachica, John Kevin Talde, Wenefredo Victoriano Jr., Ramie Arante, Gelvie Repuspolo and Nikka Gello-Agan. Lawyer Fortunato Guerrero, officer-in-charge of the PACC, referred Evidente’s complaint Cimatu in a first endorsement issued 3 July, 2020 after Evidente sent the letter.
Evidente told DNX they once considered filing a petition for writ of kalikasan against the giant sugar company once owned largely by the Ossorio family.
It used to be the largest private employer in Asia with more than 7,000 employees.
Its distillery is one of its five business segments in the province and has a rated production capacitu of 28,000 liters a day.
The firm also said in its website that its distillery located in the village of Purisima in Manapla town has aerobic and anaerobic waste water treatment facilities.
Fish kills, marine life affected Evidente claimed fish kills have already occured in the Sicaba River, including dwindling harvest of the kayog, a freshwater shell that is abundant during the tigkiriwi or the dead season in the sugar industry.
Mud crabs were also reported to have been affected by the alleged pollution caused by the distillery.