(PNA Bacolod file photo)

BACOLOD CITY – At least three sugar refineries in Negros Occidental have committed to resume operations ahead of the official start of the milling season in September in the wake of a reported shortage in shortage supply.

The response came after the call of Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer on sugar mills to reopen “as soon as possible” to “allay fears” of consumers.

These include the Victorias Milling Company (VMC) in Victorias City, Universal Robina Corp. (URC) in La Carlota City, and the Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company (BISCOM) in Binalbagan town.

“They are all willing to reopen and mill early once raw sugar is available,” said

David Alba, general manager of the Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra (AALCPI), in a statement on Thursday.

Alba said the AALCPI, along with other industry stakeholders, are helping Ferrer reach out to the various sugar mills.

He added that VMC president Minnie Chua has assured them “they are willing to refine when they have the raw sugar supply.”

They will resume operations by August if supply is available, he added.

Alba also said the URC La Carlota said they are “amenable with the Vice Governor’s recommendation.”

BISCOM, headed by president Jose Mari Chan, said they will “also refine once critical mass is reached” although they are set to start milling in September yet.

“We are expecting more mills to answer the call of Vice Governor Ferrer. We believe that when everyone is on board and will unite in providing solutions to any problem, we can surpass this,” Alba said.

Some five out of the 12 sugar refineries in the country are located in Negros Occidental, the Philippines’ top sugar-producing province.

They have stopped operating in June, and are expected to resume mill operations by September for the start of a new crop year. (PNA)