Cutting of trees in SM Baguio : Who’s to Blame?

Yesterday environmental protesters in Baguio City rally against the expansion project of SM City Baguio which will entail removing of trees in its premises. According to them this should not push through as it will damage the last green zone in Baguio’s Central Business District. This efforts meanwhile has paid off when they were able to secure a 72-hour temporary environmental protection order against SM Bagiuo Management issued by the Baguio City RTC Branch 6.

Meanwhile the SM Management said the project has been approved by different government agencies particularly the DENR who gave them the necessary permits to proceed with the earth balling of the trees. Aside from earth balling they will also plant 50 thousand more trees as part of their commitment to Baguio’re re-greening program.

Despite the statements from the SM Group that it will be a green project, concerned environmentalist and many social media users still post their objections on the mall expansion. Many even called on to Boycott SM Malls and posted some pictures of SM logo with a new catch phrase “We Cut it All for You” depicting the cutting of trees. But is it really SM that should be blamed for this?

I am also one with those environmentalist who wants a greener Philippines. I am with them in their efforts to conserve and protect our environment. But with this issue I don’t think the blame should all be fired at SM Management. In the first place that is their property so they can really do whatever they want. If we’re going to attack them via social responsibility and environmental concerns they have already said that their efforts still took on all aspects of environmental considerations. Imagine a private house with many trees in the middle of the metro and the owner decided to cut or earth ball the trees in their backyard because they will expand the house for their kids, can the neighbors protest because that is the only green patch in the city?

I think this SM Baguio issue is to be blamed to the local government of Baguio and the DENR who gave the go signals to the mall developer. Should they not allowed the SM group to build their mall on that area which the Baguio residents claimed as the last remaining green zone in the city, there will be no problem at all. This can also be attributed as a responsibility of the residents. Why did they allow SM to build the mall on that area then, if they don’t want it to be damaged? Hypocrisy set aside, every town or city wants an SM Mall on their area as it became a status symbol of progress. People are so proud when they’re town finally got to have the biggest chain of malls in the country and they will forget at first the effects of it in the future especially for the environment.

I am not siding with SM per se but I don’t want also to be so critical to them because that is their private property. There maybe bad lights in that project expansion but people should realize that this mall cannot do something if at first they did not gave them the consent to do it.

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“No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.” – John Jay

“No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.”

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