SM City Baguio’s latest justification for removing 182 trees on Luneta Hill for their parking lot: with the presence of the dreaded Ips Caligraphus infestation, the trees are going to die anyway.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this battle between the people of Baguio and the future of their city on one side and SM City Baguio’s insatiable greed for money and utter disregard for the natural beauty, heritage and dignity of their host city and the welfare of its people on the other.
|Petitioners, wearing green arm bands, at the court hearing on Sept. 25 to show support|
for the volunteer lawyers led by Atty. Chris Donaal and the NUPL
And last Friday, Sept. 28, in court, they had a Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) employee on the witness stand who claimed that based on their inspection of the trees at the proposed expansion site, a number of trees were infested by ips caligraphus, the dreaded pine tree killer beetle and that there are no known scientific and effective methods of addressing the infestation other than to cut and burn the infected trees. This they learned on April 3, 2012, according to the DENR employee, yet when they began earthballing operations on April 9, they did not prioritize the removal of the infected pine trees. There’s no excuse – there was no Temporary Environmental Protection Order issued yet on that day and if there really was an infestation, they could’ve removed those infected trees first and somehow prevent its spread to the other healthy trees. But did they? No, they proceeded to earthball more than 40 trees, and left the alleged infested trees right where they can threaten the remaining healthy, full-grown trees on Luneta Hill.
Or maybe that was the intention?
And when asked what actions the DENR-CAR took upon learning of the alleged presence of an infestation, the witness replied that she didn’t know if there was any action taken either by SM or her office after she and her team submitted their findings.