Environmental advocates vowed to continue their legal battle and protest actions against SM’s cutting of trees.
By ROCKY NGALOB
BAGUIO CITY — At around 1 a.m. of January 17, while everyone was asleep, at about 60 pine trees on Luneta Hill were cut by SM Baguio.
The uprooting of trees would pave the way for the construction of the mall’s Sky Park.
In its Dec. 12, 2014 ruling, the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the decision of the Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 5’s dismissing the complaints against SM and lifting the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) issued against the corporation.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), counsel for the environmental groups, said it would file a motion for reconsideration before the appellate court.
Christopher Donaal, one of the lawyers, said they are ready to elevate the case to the Supreme Court should the appellate court dismiss their motion for reconsideration.
While the legal battle against SM continues, environmental advocates in Baguio City believe the public outcry against the corporation has become stronger.
Emerson Soriano of Tongtongan ti Umili said that the issue raised awareness among the people of Baguio on the ill effects of corporate greed on the environment.
Soriano cited the Jan. 20, 2012 protest action against SM’s cutting and earthballing of trees, which mobilized 5,000 Baguio citizens. “We have made it clear to our local officials and agencies that we are watching every move they make on the environment,” Soriano said.
SM malls are owned by Henry Sy, the Philippines’ richest man according to Forbes magazine. www.nordis.net