Make ban permanent, green group asks court
Protection order against SM cutting of Luneta Hill trees hailed
Kalikasan Partylist today welcomed the Baguio Regional Trial Court's issuance of a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) against SM Baguio Mall's ongoing cutting of close to 200 trees on Luneta Hill. The TEPO, which will halt all cutting operations for three days, was delivered by the sheriff's office earlier this morning to SM, cutting short the earth-balling operations of trees which started last night, April 9.
Clemente Bautista Jr., President of Kalikasan Partylist, welcomed the move, saying that the court order provided more time for residents to continue the fight.
“This is a welcome step forward in the campaign to save the Luneta Hill trees from SM Mall's expansion operations. They are the remaining trees left after high impact development projects and economic zones altered much of the city's remaining forested landscape in the past two decades. It is crucial to save them from disappearing altogether. Our green courts can help by strongly bringing across the message that our ecology must not be destroyed in the pursuit of profit,” he said.
Thousands of citizens and Baguio residents have been protesting against the massacre of the 182 trees on Luneta Hill, staging various actions and circulating petitions since last year against the earth-balling of these remaining trees to build SM's parking lot and entertainment center. These trees are already part of Baguio City's history, which has distinguished the summer capital for the past 100 years.
Bautista said that the TEPO should be extended for as long as possible.
“Three days though is too short a time to protect these trees. We hope that the court will extend this TEPO against the cutting of trees by SM Baguio and make it permanent, for the ecology and the people's sake. We also hope that the DENR will revoke the permit issued to SM and declare it null and void, in recognition of the wide public clamor to save the remainng trees,” he stressed. ###
Reference: Clemente Bautista, Jr. Chairperson, Kalikasan Partylist – 0922.844.9787
For inquiries, contact Lisa Ito Kalikasan Partylist Public Information Officer at 0917.817.9955.