Davao Pekin duck exporter told to do corrective measures in wastewater facility

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 June) – The Davao City Watershed Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (WMPMT) asked the Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures Corp., a company owned by exporter Vicente Lao who is chair of the Mindanao Business Council, to do “corrective measures in the wastewater facility” of its Pekin duck dressing plant near Davao River.

In its findings of the inspection conducted last May 12, released earlier this week, the WMPMT said that the company’s polishing pond in Barangay Tamugan, Marilog District, which treats wastewater, is not functioning properly and produces a foul odor.

The team raised concern that the wastewater may eventually contaminate the 20-foot wells drilled by water utility HelpMate Inc., which supplies water for residents in the second district of the city.

The WMPMT has been tasked to monitor operations and activities within watershed areas to ensure Davao City’s water quality by virtue of the City Ordinance Watershed Code. The monitoring team is composed of the Watershed Multipartite Development Office, City Administrator’s Office, and Davao City Water District.

“The pond should release clean water towards Davao River but since their waste treatment facility is not regularly attended to, it already deteriorated, causing lesser decomposition of biodegradable wastes,” it said.

It said the “polishing pond should have fishes as indicator that the water is clean and habitable for aquatic life” and is safe for discharge to Davao River.

Citing Christopher Asibal, a forester at the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the WMPMT said the polishing pond for wastewater was “cloudy, dark in color, had big debris, and foul odor.”

Also, the monitoring team learned that Maharlika has no updated wastewater discharge permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environment and Management Bureau

In a text message Tuesday, Lao said he has not yet received the findings of the group’s inspection but vowed to answer all concerns “once it is brought to our attention.”

But he maintained that his company renews permits annually.

“The renewal of our permits is a regular activity every year or once the permit expires. I do not see any problem in the renewal. Normally, if they are minor findings, we are always given a period to correct it, which we usually do,” Lao said.

“Rest assured that Maharlika will always comply with all environmental regulations as mandated by law and our legitimate government agencies,” he added.

Lao’s company grows Pekin ducks in Bukidnon and exports duck meat to Japan.

The monitoring team also observed that the “sanitary upkeep of the area/surrounding was not done regularly, thus, flies and mosquitoes were present” and raised concern that there is only one worker maintaining the treatment facility that could have resulted in its poor maintenance. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)