GMC to limit unloading activities, control dust to resolve complaints

GENERAL Milling Corp. (GMC) in Lapu-Lapu City has started addressing the dust and noise pollution coming from the company’s plant, days after complaints about them by Barangay Poblacion and Pajo residents were published in SunStar Cebu.

GMC executive vice president Joselito Fausto Parco told SunStar Cebu Thursday, March 9, 2023 that the company had come up with an action plan to resolve the issue following a meeting with Poblacion Barangay Captain Tirso Tumulak, Pajo Barangay Captain Lyndel Bullos, and representatives of the Lapu-Lapu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), City Health Office (CHO) and Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB 7) at the GMC office on Wednesday.

The action plan was presented to the Office of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Cenro, CHO, EMB 7 and the barangay captains of Poblacion and Pajo on Thursday.

Parco said that as part of the action plan, they had begun minimizing and limiting the unloading activities at GMC South End Wharf.

The firm will also install wind sacks. The installation is targeted to be finished on March 12.

The wind sacks determine the wind direction and help the plant decide on when to limit its unloading operations, so as not to affect the nearby communities.

GMC will also provide a windbreaker dust control system at the South End Wharf facing the residents, while it plans to install a dust collector system on its existing hopper.

Some residents in Barangays Pajo and Poblacion had complained about the noise from the unloading of raw materials from boats at the GMC port keeping them awake at night. They also said their health had been affected, as the dust coming from the GMC plant often entered their houses.

These problems, they said, had been going on for several years.

Parco said GMC is a pioneering food company in the Visayas region, where it has operated for more than 60 years. It has been milling wheat grain and soya beans for decades, turning them into flour and other food products, and supplying livestock feeds to the Visayan market.

First time

He said this was the first time for the top executives of the company to hear that residents in Barangay Poblacion, especially those near the plant, had complained about dust and noise.

He traced this to the communication of the complaints of Barangay Poblacion reaching only the staff level of GMC, and not the higher management.

Parco admitted that the firm has the responsibility to ensure that the plant’s operations will not cause harm to the residents nearby.

Hence, Parco said they took the issue as an opportunity for the firm to communicate with the chiefs of the two barangays, particularly Barangay Poblacion.

As for Barangay Pajo, he said GMC was always in touch with Bullos, its barangay captain.

Reaching out

In a separate interview, Poblacion Barangay Captain Tumulak expressed his gratitude to GMC for coming up with the action plan.

Tumulak said the barangay had raised the issue several times for several years in the past. He said they sent letters and communications to GMC.

He said this was the first time the GMC executives reached out to them, following the publication of the residents’ complaints in SunStar Cebu earlier this week.

He hopes that GMC will fulfill its promise stipulated in the action plan.