I wrote a petition against this here at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-cutting-uprooting-of-trees-at-sm-baguio.html where more than 7,000 people have already signed including some 15,000 signatories more on hard copies of the petition. It also led to a protest rally, one of the biggest ever in the city of Baguio last January 20, followed by a protest mass, tree planting an tree concert dubbed as Project Save 182 and Pine for Pine, respectively, last February 5, also attended to by thousands of Baguio residents and students
The permit to cut and earth-ball the trees as well as the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) were issued by DENR Sec. Ramon Paje even though there was no public consultation and hearing and proof of the SM project’s social acceptability which was in clear violation of the provisions of the Philippine Environment Assessment System. DENR claims that SM has complied with all the requirements but when we wrote DENR to present evidences of the accomplished requirements, it has not done so until this time.
SM is showing it is insensitive to the protests and pleas of majority of the residents. It intends to go ahead and cut and earth-ball the trees, ignoring my scientific explanation that the trees will die even when earth-balled. It is ignorant or not mindful at all of the ecological, cultural and social contributions of the trees to humans and the environment.
The city government of Baguio has already given SM a building permit. Except for a handful, the city council leaders are surprisingly very quiet about the issue, lifting not a finger to save the trees. The mayor said he is powerless. The regional office of DENR says SM has all the right to cut.
The people are forced to ask, who then will help us prevent the cutting? We sought a dialogue with the mayor who said that it is only DENR that can cancel the tree cutting permit it gave and it is only the DPWH that can cancel the building permit released by the city government.
This petition demands then that for the 182 trees to be spared, DENR must immediately cancel the tree cutting permit as well as the ECC it gave SM because DENR erred in judgement, and that DPWH should cancel the building permit because it was wrong to give one.