Why Can’t SM Baguio Bashers See The Bigger Environmental Sin

On TV Patrol, I saw and heard Ka Noli De Castro introduce and SET THE TONE on a report about the cutting of SM Baguio’s 60 trees this way:

“Pinutol na ang anim na pung puno sa Luneta Hill dahil sa itatayong seven storey sky park ng isang mall sa Baguio City. Ito’y kahit na nasa bansa si Pope Francis na isang environmental advocate, nagpaparol is Diane Rivera…”

(Translation: Sixty trees have been cut at Luneta Hill because of the planned construction of a seven story sky park of mall in Baguio City. This is despite the country being visited by Pope Francis, who is an environmental advocate.”

The second sentence just doesn’t make sense, at least to me. What does Pope Francis have to do with the cutting of 60 trees in Baguio city? Did Pope Francis prohibit the cutting of the trees in Luneta Hill in Baguio City?

steve carrellI am not faulting Ka Noli for what he said because I presume that he merely read the script that was given to him and was not in anyway in directly in charge of seeing to it that any of scripts make any sense. This incoherency generally happens when someone, the scriptwriter presumably, tries to make a connection between two unconnected events in one sentence. In this case, the Popes visit and the felling of 60 trees in Baguio City.

Then again, it occurs to me that maybe the scriptwriter was trying to use the jarring incoherence to get people’s attention and hook them into watching the rest of the story. Maybe.

Having watched the TV news story, I discovered that perhaps the very meat or seeming justification for the way the story was introduced was one interview of a kid who said, “Pinakamalaking irony nga po ang pagpunta ni Pope Francis sa MOA arena and SM welcomed him, then knowing that Pope Francis will have an advocacy to preserve and protect the environment.” (English translation: “The biggest irony in Pope Francis is that Pope Francis visited the MOA Arena and SM welcomed him, then knowing that Pope Francis will have an advocacy to preserve and protect the environment.”)

pope frances ust 2015Having been a TV news producer and TV News writer for years, I would have introduced the story with the Court of Appeals decision which allowed the cutting of the trees and then put in the interviews of the people who are presumably against the tree cutting.

But, of course, I recognize that the point that the producers and script writers of TV Patrol wanted to make was that SM went against Pope Francis’ admonition to take care and protect the environment.

Before I go ahead and point out the bigger environmental problem that is getting buried by the “outrage” against the cutting of 60 trees on Luneta Hill, let’s take up what did Pope Francis said about taking care of the environment.

It was in his speech in UST that the Pope pointed out three key areas where people could make contributions to the life of the country, caring for the environment is the second key…

“A second key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. You are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ! Respect for the environment means more than simply using cleaner products or recycling what we use. These are important aspects, but not enough. We need to see, with the eyes of faith, the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person. Men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over creation (cf. Gen 1:26-28). As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”

Does this apply ONLY to SM Baguio? Of course not and I won’t say anymore to explain why because the message is already clear.

Baguio-today2However, when it comes to showing concern for the environment, we have to make a comparison between SM Baguio City and the rest of Baguio. The only way you can do that is to have a bird’s eye view of what Baguio looks like and you can see that from the picture on the right.

Yes, believe it or not, you can’t even see SM Baguio in the see of other buildings and houses.

The hills that one could see from session road used to be filled with pine trees and now, it’s full of houses.

Here’s an old picture of Session Road, see the trees in the hills?

old session road

Here’s what the view from the top of Session Road looks like now.

why baguio is dying

One has to wonder how the once forested hills surrounding Baguio City turned into what looks like a Favela.

Favela

Here’s what Grace, a member of the Baguio community, has to say about that  “It’s easy to grab lands in Baguio, magtayo ka lang ng bahay mo kahit saan at sabihin mong ancestral claimant ka eh puwede na, with the blessing of course of Apo dios mayor domogan.” (English translation. “It’s easy to grab land in Baguio, just build a house anywhere and claim that you are an ancestral claimant, it’ll be allowed, with the blessing of Elder Lord Mayor Domogan.”)

Given the “free for all” edict on ancestral land claims that seems to prevail in Baguio City, one wonders if the thousands of houses and buildings built on that land are up to engineering and environmental standards? I have a feeling we will all find out if a big enough earthquake rocks Baguio City.

Another question on my mind is, did those people who cut the trees and built houses as well as buildings there replace the trees they cut? I would presume that they didn’t.

Expansion of vegetable farm in STo. Tomas Watershed
Expansion of vegetable farm in STo. Tomas Watershed

And lastly, as I’ve mentioned in my recent post on Baguio’s Treeliling Rampagers, why aren’t the people up in Baguio City more concerned about the killing of 800 trees in the Sto. Tomas watershed allegedly by Congressman Nicasio Aliping? Why aren’t the people in Baguio more concerned about the 80 hectares of forest lost in Benguet every year because of forest fires (kaingin/slash and burn farming), illegal logging, and land conversion?

Is it because the people protesting over the cutting of 60 trees are not really concerned about the environment?

Is it because of politics?

Parts of Mt. Kabuyao in Tuba, Benguet (just above Baguio) where forest in being converted into vegetable farms.
Parts of Mt. Kabuyao in Tuba, Benguet (just above Baguio) where forest in being converted into vegetable farms.

Francis, another Baguio resident says, “(PS182 lawyer) Attorney Cheryl Yangot’s husband is a known ally of the Congressman (Aliping) – they are the so-called OTHER wing of the local Liberal Party here in Baguio.”

In ending this already long article, not the last one, I’d like to tell you the reason why SM Baguio Bashers can’t see the larger environmental damage and it is actually the Bible that tells what it is…

Mathew 7, 4-5…

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

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75 Comments on “Why Can’t SM Baguio Bashers See The Bigger Environmental Sin”

  1. As with the rest of the country, we are being given selected parts of a whole. Like pointing out the stain on a favorite shirt while the rest is damaged by moths.
    People watch a soap opera on tv that features a strawberry and vegetable farm, yet when I commented ” that place will soon crumble for the lack of trees” and yet the people watching (yes they are my relatives) looked at me with an eveil eye and told me I was overly pessimistic.

  2. I’m very surprised this happens in our own turf while Filipino planning, environmental, engineering and construction companies are sought after abroad for their ability to produce sustainable development…

  3. hello, yung second picture mo na sabe mo “Here’s what the view from the top of Session Road looks like now”, hinde po yan Session Road. Lower Magsaysay Road po iyan going to La Trinidad. Can’t tell also if the first picture is accurate as well. Anyhow, good post.

    1. Right! Cause I can see that the church is not cathedral but resurection(I dont really know the name. Sorry. But it is how we call the church. Hehe)

        1. agpayso ta kunam. haan na ammo ibagbaga na. nu dagiti babbalay ti Quirino Hill ken Quezon Hill ti ibagbaga na, nabayagen nga naipatakder dagidyay sakbay pay timmakder ta SM. LOL.

        2. basahin mo nga muna kc nakasulat bago magcomment .. kinompare nya lng ung mga naputol na puno sa sm at mga naputol na puno sa barangay na un..
          d ka marunong magbasa ng english? comment ng comment d namn pla alm magbasa

        3. @boy ang point nila dito ay yong view, which was claimed by the author as from the top of Session Road which was in actual taken along Magsaysay Road. I think they have even read and comprehended it better than you do. Besides, whenever you make a blog, accuracy is a must. And English? Don’t challenge the Cordillerans, mind you!

        4. pero we can’t also deny the fact na kung sino ang hindi nakaka alam at nakatira sa Baguio, sila pa ang mga taong aware sa mga ganitong bagay. Hindi man sila native ng Baguio City, but they were concern with the environment and the consequences it can give to you. Sao a nga sao ngem adda met napanan na jay imbaga na. Kusto ak met lang kadi? gayyem?

  4. Trees are very important in our environment. They clean our air…they protect the land from erosion, landslides, etc…

    These people are destroying the environment. Soon there will be more landslides and floods…

  5. Paul,

    “I am not faulting Ka Noli for what he said because I presume that he merely read the script that was given to him and was not in anyway in directly in charge of seeing to it that any of scripts make any sense.”

    Before he left ABS-CBN to run for Vice President of the Republic, Noli de Castro was VICE PRESIDENT of ABS-CBN and dzMM. He was head of production on their flagship evening news program, ‘TV Patrol.’ This means that he would be involved not only as an executive, but also in the daily operations and production of the news program. As such he had considerable input with regards to story content and how their reports are shaped. To-day, he still reads the nightly news and, more importantly, does commentary. You’d be selling ‘Ka Noli’ short with your characterisation of him as a mechanical ‘newsreader’ or ‘talking head.’ What he does on air is NOT mindless, rote delivery.

    With the influence ‘Ka Noli’ has at ABS-CBN, you should consider two possibilities. First — he actually believes in what he’s shoveling and that the he further believes the felling of those trees is of paramount importance. The reference to Pope Francis is to be expected; a lot of TV news personalities have a tendency to conflate disparate facts in an attempt to sound intelligent.

    Second — ‘Ka Noli,’ like his colleagues Ted Failon and Karen Davila, as well as many others in the news profession, was paid off by parties opposed to SM’s development in Baguio City. It wouldn’t be the first time that a reporter skewed a story to favour a certain individual or political interest in exchange for a gratuity.

  6. good write up. BUT…. That picture you showed saying top of Session Road. That is Magsaysay Avenue going to the direction of Bokawkan rd. and La Trinidad. Check your picture sources.

  7. The difference is, while those houses on the mountains were built over the centuries and while forests were converted to farms, it was supposedly for the benefit of a number of people, their families and their future families. Whereas, the conversion of the forest land in SM shall benefit only SM. Of course it will benefit people in the sense that there will be parking spaces, but people can’t live in parking spaces nor harvest food in it. Unfortunately, SM is also located at a premiere spot in Session Road that houses the last of the pine trees that can be seen on the said road.
    One of my instructors had said that the DENR has already given its approval to SM and that the cutting will perfectly be legal and I believed him. But seeing now what SM had stealthily done, I see it as a guilty thief having accomplished its deed. How can they make the building eco-friendly now when the trees had been cut? Put artificial plants or grasses?
    Instead of being a neutral audience in this spectacle, I think I may have awaken. I hope that the people of Baguio too shall remember that one-day transformation. We cannot change the environment for the better in one day but we can ruin it, yes, in a day. If we do not become aware and if we hide in so-called hypocrisy, this place will crumble.

    1. I wonder though. People may defend, “let us cut down the trees, we need the vegetables farms, we can’t eat trees.” Only problem is, when the landslides happen.

        1. I wonder, the people who claims to be environmentalist do not make “noise” on those illegal kaingins that are cutting thousands of trees in mt. santo tomas?

        2. arman, it may be because there is not a real organization of so-called environmentalists. We all have our views on environment but not one can really make noise on every environmental violation there is, unless environmentalism is that person’s main, primary advocacy and source of living.

    2. The main problem here is that people blame SM too much, while putting too little blame on countless people who continue to buy land in Baguio, therefore turning the city into a sprawl. These landowners can simply invoke “PRIVATE PROPERTY” when they cut their trees, which is exactly what SM did. So why isn’t anyone who’s “environmentally aware” protesting against private landowners who have destroyed Baguio more?

      Meanwhile, these pop “environmentalists” were almost absent when a congressman bulldozed 800 trees on PUBLIC LAND.

      One more thing: if DENR gave a permit, then “stealth” doesn’t really matter anymore, does it?

      1. 1. You are assuming that private land owners simply cut trees whenever they want as long as they ask for a permit from DENR. You are assuming that the people don’t care. The fact is, asking for a permit to cut trees, even in private properties, is a very long and arduous process. This begs the question, why is it that SM was able to acquire a permit so fast given that they are cutting significantly more trees (in the central business district) compared to private land owners who would only need to cut one to five trees (in an area away from the central business district)? People are aware that there are private land owners who have started cutting trees, but not as much as SM did. People of Baguio thought that the safety-nets set in place by DENR was enough to stop private land owners from cutting just because. But seeing what SM has done, they now realize that these regulations against tree cutting can be easily bypassed, easily maneuvered around, easily manipulated by government officials (Aliping) and big corporations (SM). So don’t tell us that we don’t care about other tree cutters because we do. What we failed to realize is how untrustworthy our “laws and regulations” can be.

        2. The congressman was sued for his actions. But then again, DENR is taking too long to appropriate the charges. The project was stopped because of illegal acts. The people were not absent during this. People were outraged. But what could have they done then? Nothing significant because the trees were already damaged. There was nothing to prevent anymore because the project was already stopped. What they could only do is make sure that justice is served as the case against the congressman and others are still being evaluated.

        3. Regarding DENR permits: Even if let’s say DENR provided permits, are you really sure that nothing happened under the table? As I said earlier, how is it possible for SM to gain permits so swiftly while other people would have to wait for a very very long time before getting one? Also, just because a permit was given doesn’t mean it’s right. Lastly, “stealth” does apply because the trees were cut at a time when people were least aware of what was happening, showing intent to conceal. Stealthy. Thief-like. If they did everything according to the “laws” then why hide it? Why not cut the trees during the day? If they are afraid that citizens might stop them from cutting the trees, then they should be. Unlike in Sto Tomas, people are more active in this issue because they know they can still do something. They know that the trees that were cut recently will not be the end, and surely, the people will do what they can to PREVENT future cuttings from taking place.

        1. Well said. Though the author raised some valid points, he seems to be pulling some assertions out of his ass. He seemed to be over his head when he said the people of Baguio did not care when Aliping took down those trees in Cabuyao. He seemed to write this to take the blame out from SM and divert it elsewhere (to the “bigger” problems), which is wrong. Thing is, we should not take our sights from the SM just to put our eyes in other issues. All acts inimical to our environment are deplorable, regardless of who performs them or how small or large scale it is.

        2. Okay, fair enough. But with regards to focusing on SM it becomes the responsibility of Baguio’s electorate to make sure that they try their best to focus on ALL environmental issues, not just the ones which would gain the most media mileage as can be seen now.

          In fact, it seems that only one person (Grace Bandoy) is keeping tabs on the Aliping case over Sto. Tomas, and she’s not even part of Save 182. I also have it on good info that a “Call for Sobriety” from Aliping about his case was actually signed by members of Save 182 themselves, thereby showing that “environmentalism” in Baguio is just a label to cover up an alliance of conveniences and interests.

          As what has been said earlier: “There are no genuine environmental groups here to speak of, the people would rather do battle with a corporation and other co-residents than take on a corrupt government that is party to the degradation. This is why the city looks and behaves as it does now.” – Lisa (3 November 2012)

          http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2014/06/organic-farms-and-eco-parks-are-ruining-baguios-mountainsides/

        3. First, MidwayHaven, of course people should not focus only on envi issues that get the most media mileage. That’s a given. BUT, it’s not exclusive to Baguio alone. This is global phenomena, where people tend to be drawn to more hyped up stories. I am saying this because the article above is more outrageous than the “pop environmentalist” movement circulating now. Just because many people are only there during high profile envi cases does not make them insignificant. This only shows that with a better information dissemination protocol, more people would actually realize the gravity of environmental situations.

          Second, environmentalism is such a huge umbrella. You cannot claim that one person isn’t one just because they prefer high profile envi cases over others. You can’t say that people should be validated as environmentalists just because they keep tabs on envi cases. Because we have our own ways of protecting the environment and for showing our interest on the matter. The reason I don’t call myself an environmentalist is because those who call themselves that would immediately attack if you are not present in a protest, if you do not sign a petition, if you use plastic bags, etc. It’s crazy! I agree with you, that the people need to do more and not just jump on the bandwagon. But I also think that we should not be bringing people down just because they did. They just need to be informed.

          As for the theory of “alliance of conveniences and interests,” I have to look that up. It’s an interesting theory. I have to give props to what Lisa pointed out. Corporations and other people are easier to battle. A few people have tried to bring that timpuyog of a government down in the past. I just wish Lisa could share the ways on how to actually take the corrupt government down. I have always wondered myself how I can make them pay for their transgressions.

          On the article you wrote, it’s well written and I agree that those eco parks are stupid. But I have to say that there are more factors to consider in organic farming. People transform mountainsides to farms not because they just want to. It’s because they need to. It’s dictated by the market. It’s dictated by the lack of other resources. So it’s not just the farmers that should be blamed. Why not blame the market, for the increasing demand for organic produce? Why not blame the media for advertising organic produce as the healthier choice? Why not blame people for being health conscious? Why not blame DENR for not doing a better job in protecting those mountainsides? Just saying. Anyway, thanks for engaging me on this.

    3. INDEED!

      The difference is, while those houses on the mountains were built over the centuries and while forests were converted to farms, it was supposedly for the benefit of a number of people, their families and their future families. Whereas, the conversion of the forest land in SM shall benefit only SM. Of course it will benefit people in the sense that there will be parking spaces, but people can’t live in parking spaces nor harvest food in it.

      1. But you do have to agree that there is an environmental crisis when there is an overcrowding of houses in a particular location right ? The point is, whether it is in Quirino Hill, Quezon Hill, Luneta Hill or any other Hill in Baguio, the residents have to be liable for their immediate surroundings.. Is cutting a tree to put up your house any different when they cut trees to put up a mall ? Can we really turn our heads and just say, “ket, maisa lng met ? ikumpara mo ah it daduma…” As what was said, the issue is not only SM. It’s also Moldex, it’s Courtyards, Its Toyota, it’s Azalea, its John Hay, it’s Crown, It’s Pines Hotel, and the list goes on. And yes, it’s also Quirino Hill, Quezon Hill, Hillside, Loakan, etc. and although technically not in Baguio, Mt. Cabuyao. It’s so great to say that the change must come within us, but sadly it’ll fall on deaf ears anyway. Maybe we can learn a lesson or two from “Lorax” ….

        1. Hi Kimi, yes I agree that an environmental crisis is at hand, especially since the overcrowded mountainsides continue to expand.
          You said:
          “Is cutting a tree to put up your house any different when they cut trees to put up a mall ? Can we really turn our heads and just say, “ket, maisa lng met ? ikumpara mo ah it daduma…” As what was said, the issue is not only SM.”

          This is exactly the idea that I want to clarify. Because people assume that just because someone is involved in the anti-SM cutting trees, they immediately think that these people are stupid and nakikiuso lang. The fact is, the protesters KNOW it’s not only SM. They know it’s not right to cut trees. They very well know that the issue is bigger than SM. But they are given a stronger resolve in knowing that there are others that share the same condemnation against one of the tree cutters, that’s why they “came-out” of the shadows and into the forefront. It’s actually good that this issue brings more people into consciousness. This gives us the opportunity to educate them more, not to bash them and bring them down.

          It’s not just SM. It’s the government, media, big corporations, small businesses, etc. Yes. But the issue of SM is here now. Fire at will.

        2. Yes, but let’s be fair to the issues. I was also intrigued by the theory of “alliance” and that may well be a very good reason why it’s always SM. And I just read the judicial side of the issue and I couldn’t believe that the expert witness would say that the cutting of the trees would not have any impact on the ecological balance of the city. From my point of view, it’s weird that a “tree expert” would say that. In a way, it’s very demoralizing.

        3. Hi Kimi. I totally agree. There’s more to the story. I hope we could get all the facts down so that we can get over with this SM issue and move to more pressing ones.

  8. I like the Article, Apparently the 5th picture captioned “Here’s what the view from the top of Session Road looks like now. ” Kindly Check your picture sources, The Photo is misleading.

  9. The people of Baguio know that you lack evidences to support your supposed facts, you don’t even know the places your talking about. About congressman Aliping desecrating our water reserves, if you’ve done your research properly you would know that cases has been filed against him, and the people has asked for his suspension. Its not about the bigger picture its about the bigger environmental sin, its about doing wrong to our beloved city!

  10. I would like to inform you that the incident regarding Aliping and SM were both protested. It just so happened that the trees were cut in the middle of the night when our dead pope visited Philippines.
    Mali po ang nakalagay sa caption ng mga pictures mo. Hndi po yun sa session road. At yung picture na expansion ng vegetable farms eh isa yun mismo sa inararo daw ni aliping.
    You should have investigated more to prove your facts. Thank you

    1. Care to explain further, sm employee?

      Because neither your company nor your “environmental” opponents are convincing me at the moment. You’re both turning out to be losers in this debate.

  11. totally missing the BIG picture

    stressing about where the picture was taken when the point is comparing how the environment used to look like then compared to how it looks like now…
    geeez!!!

  12. All those corporations, and most especially those Politicians who are allowing (giving permits) the CUTTING OF TREES in Baguio should be held liable, by all means.

    But what DISTURBS me the most in your article and even your previous article is that you DON’T find the SM Group responsible, and even AT FAULT, in their greedy move of mall expansion by cutting of trees.

    You are right by painting the bigger picture, and I’m hoping the Residents of Baguio will make a move to address these environmental issues and DEMAND MORE from their local government in terms of taking care of the environment and put a STOP to the cutting of trees.

    But again, instead of CONDEMNING SM Group for their ‘destructive’ act, you are somewhat promoting in your article that what they did is right. And that is completely disturbing, and that irate the readers more.

    That’s why you are MISSING the REAL ISSUE here and debating outside the real problem. Dapat, along with the ‘picture’ and current environmental scenarios the Residents of Baguio are facing, which you’ve brought up, at the end, YOU SHOULD’VE POINTED OUT and MADE CLEAR that what the SM Group did was WRONG, and they should be held liable and pay the price for these, along with those corporations and groups who are doing the same deeds, ruining our environment.

    Yun kasi ung missing sa article mo kaya nagmumukhang PROMOTER kayo ng SM Group and you agree sa cutting of 60 trees, which is of course, COMPLETELY DISTURBING.

    1. You’re missing the whole point you tree fucker. It’s not that the author is being pro-sm. It’s the hypocrisy of “environmentalists” like yourself who already smothered the natural surroundings ever since it was urbanized too much.

  13. In 1986 Hollywood megastar Clint Eastwood won a landslide election for mayor of Carmel, a sleepy town with 4,000 population off the coast of northern California. Eastwood proposed modernization, tourism, new buildings, malls and jobs. His proposal meant more people moving to Carmel, traffic, increased taxes, more garbage and possible water shortage.

    In Eastwood’s first act as new mayor he faced serious opposition and received death threats he decided to quit after serving two years in office. I’m not advocating natives of Baguio to kill their mayor or burn SM or drive away non-Baguio residents who have taken spaces to effect changes, but Baguio residents simply taking to social media isn’t going to change things.

  14. I was born in Baguio but grew up in Manila. During my younger days, i always go up to Baguio and stay with my cousins who had a house at Camdas Subdivision a few houses away from the house of former Mayor Lardizabal. I really love Baguio. I close my eyes on nearing Camp 1 at Kennon Road and i can tell we are nearing Baguio because i can smell the pines. Now that i am a senior citizen and whenever i go up to Baguio i can still tell if Baguio is already near, I CAN SMELL THE SMOKE coming from diesel fed vehicles going up, and this goes on till i reach the city proper. It becomes worse when you are in Session Road. I can also remember distinctly that i like to go to my uncle’s house because i always stay in a room looking at the green mountains nearby going to Trinidad.

    The beautiful old Baguio is now just a memory. The destruction continues.

    My suggestion is to declare available a contiguous land area big enough to replicate the old Baguio, maybe situated a little further from the city.

    It’s really a pity. A beautiful city is gone because of man’s greed. I was i can say something good about the present situation but the loss is just overwhelming.

  15. SM bought the area at such a cheap price. Imagine -.00 per square meter? With the promise of creating JOBS FOR THE PEOPLE OF BAGUIO. Then, here you are, saying bashers cannot see the bigger environmental sin? I do not blame you for not knowing some history about this issue. Sometimes, it’s better to keep an idea rather than to share it

  16. Baguio road is now a huge parking lot.
    Parking area is a big business opportunity. Simple. Profit is a big thing. It has pros and cons. Whatever it is, we also need to think about sustainable development. 🙂

  17. One of the many reasons why Cordillera is dying is because of the development of roads and hiwaysgoing up in the region.Let say nowadays round-trip from manila banaue sagada baguio manila is just a single click in metrodeal when you want a trip anytime of the day. The same story to those who owned a car.My two cents.

    1. you have a point there. But dont blame the development since we, the resident of the cordilleras, also need the development to at least uplift our way of living. Rather blame the greed, diminishing morale of people that’re causing the distruction of our own environment.

      1. oh come on…greed is part of diminishing morale…and please do not put ” we, residents of the cordilleras”…mind you…i am a cordilleran and full blooded igorot..do not include me in your spineless comment…if we condone what SM has done, it’s the start of a ” hayaan mo na” attitude..and thus we are letting urbanization rule our sanctuary..our place of solitude…

  18. The reason why why we experiend an oh, so heavy traffic during the Christmas holidays is because we don’t have space for parking in our city. The main roads are filled with parked cars both sides by Baguio car owners only. Baguio car owners are already causing traffic on te main roads. Now, here comes the tourists…they bring their own cars hoping to enjoy the cold weather and the mountains but what happens, they spent their time on the clogged roads instead. Unprecedented but Baguio people need to realize that along with progress, changes are inevitable. When, in the past, we enjoy walking, our younger generations can no longer appreciate it because of the conveniences brought by progress, like, jeepneys, taxis, or buying your own personal car. In our younger days, we enjoy walking because there were less jeepneys and taxis and private cars and money is hard to get. Now, because of these, we need a parking space to de-clog our streets and it’s only SM which is offering that. Do our public officials have even any shadow of a project that offers to decongest our roads, or any private entity at that? In order to accomodate a change, some sacrifices must be made. Now, SM promised to plant trees, the thing that we can do is to monitor them if they will be true to their promise, then if they don’t, go to the roads again and shout out load your complaints. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m not an SM supporter. I just hate it that when I go to town with my car, I can not find a place to park so I result to park in SM and walk around town.

  19. GOSHENLAND has vast property in IRISAN called BLUERIDGE MOUNTAINS with thousands of pine trees in danger of giving way for housing development. MOUNT JUMBO TRAIL in LA TRINIDAD used to be our playground in BENGUET until it was bought by Goshenland and burned all the pine seedlings and shrubs in the area. ANYA NGAY AR ARAMIDEN YO NGA ENVIRONMENTALISTS? Where were you when hundreds of pine trees were cut for the construction of MOLDEX RESIDENCES along MARCOS HIGHWAY? ….A new subdivision development has started along BENIN ROAD, IRISAN and many trees fell to give way for road and residential development in the area.. NGANGA PA RIN BA? Another condominium on the rise owned by Manny Villar called OUTLOOK RIDGE RESIDENCES in Mines View cut several trees too…and AGAIN another wooded area in MINES VIEW is on the brink of extinction for the construction of MEGAWORLD’s condominium project called 88 GIBRALTAR, a vast complex of exclusive housing towers. GET REAL PEOPLE!!!! BE IN THE KNOW! hindi ung salita lang ng salita! protesta lang ng protesta!

    1. so let’s let SM go and fight goshen instead?…oh come on…what the hell..letting one of them go will encourage others to do the same…

  20. People should really see the bigger picture and the worse deed people are doing to Baguio City. It was my first time in the city in 2010. I expected I would be mesmerized as we got closer to Baguio. On the contrary, I got dismayed upon seeing the hills covered with houses. From afar, the hills looked like heaps of garbage.

  21. JUST SOME CORRECTIONS. FIRST OF ALL, WE CANNOT SEE SM IN THE PIC. BECAUSE SM IS REALLY NOT IN THE PIC. SECONDLY, THE NEXT PIC IS NOT THE TOP VIEW OF SESSION ROAD BECAUSE THAT PLACE IS MAGSAYSAY ROAD.

  22. As per my observation, an institution have the courage to cut down tress what ever they likebecause they are protected, abusing of power, and even given permit from the gov’t officials to do such activities. My question is, why some (local, municipal) gov’t officials are approvibg permits in cutting tress in exchange of money? Why the SM can’t build a building with out cutting tress? They cannot cut down tress if the gov’t officials would say ” “NO”even how much money they offer.

    1. What if we answered “yes?”

      Besides, unlike a lot of very vocal “environmentalists” out there, we’d rather keep our ecological activities low-key.

  23. The photo about sto. tomas isn’t a garden. it was the road being constructed but was petitioned and was issued a TEPO. You can not correlate the photos (old session) and the photo (view from top of session) because on the first pic you are showing the top of session but on the other, you are showing quirino hill. Those are two different places here. If you try to set an illustration, please use pictures showing same views/place. Wag mo lagyan ng muta ang mata ng iba.

    The word basher pertains to people bullying another without cause. or by mere hatred… you dont call people who are speaking against SM’s cutting of trees “bashers” because there concern is reasonable. it may not be as justified as your own view but it has a rational intent.

    You are trying to present a good point but please do it better.

    Just saying.

  24. cguro SM ang nsa hot seat kasi nasa centro, yan ang nkikitang mga tao. and panawagan kng cnu man ho ng bibigay ng permits na magputol. cge ipagapatuloy nyo yan(sarcasm),kung yung nag iisang puno sa tuktok ng session(puno na gawa sa bakal at semento) hinde pinatawad, pinutol at pinalitan ng mga bato. 🙁 feeling pissed

  25. Hmmmm…
    I actually agree with you on some points sir…
    However, from what I’ve understood from that news report, it would seem that they were only pointing out the fact that the Pope is in the country while S.M. Baguio was cutting trees in the area.
    In effect, most people would be busy tuning in to that particular event to even notice S.M Baguio doing such deeds…
    It can then be assumed that they took advantage of this particular moment to get away with cutting trees without so much as a peep from rallying activists in the way…
    Because usually, when S.M. Baguio “attempts” to cut those trees in the past, a lot of people would be there fighting for the trees. Yes, this was not the first time it happened, this was a time they succeeded in cutting those particular trees… They even went as far as claiming to “replant” those same trees in order to defend their oh so righteous mission. WHO are they kidding? Only gullible people would believe such as thing! Just about anyone who has a single brain cell (sarcasm) knows uprooting those trees would be the end of them. Their success would be even less than 1%…

    Another point to be stressed out sir, is that a “basher” pertains to a bully… It would seem hard to believe S.M. being bullied by someone, no??

    Another point to be stressed is, would something wrong be justified by simply pointing out past mistakes??
    It seems unfair to assume that Baguio singled out S.M. Baguio’s issue from a lot of tree cutting issues around the city…
    It would be like saying you’re a hypocrite if you point someone out for littering, but you didn’t stop another person from dumping their trash into the ocean on the other side of the country.
    I would also like to point out, kind sir, that Baguio isn’t the only city in Benguet…
    You seem to be looking for far flung tree cutting issues around Benguet… However, I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m just saying it’s unfair that you are singling out Baguio in this endeavor…

    Another point to be said is, how can planting a few trees justify what S.M. Baguio did?
    Yes, they planted trees to replace those, but would these trees survive and grow into big oxygen providing trees, being left alone after being planted?
    Before anyone asks, yes sir. I plant trees whenever I have the opportunity, as well as go back to these sites in order to clean and remove weeds growing around these trees…
    Yes, ample parking space would serve the city well, especially during holidays when people come up to the city… However, aren’t oxygen providing trees be of more use to people than parking space??

    Lastly, before pointing out errors of other people, please make sure you’ve got your facts straight first…
    Your pictures need to be checked first. Your first image of Baguio does not really contain S.M., just some residential area in the city. Anyone who has seen S.M. Baguio marvels at its design. The roof of the malls is like a tent, which obviously is not in your photo.
    Your black and white picture is spot on. I commend you. Of course, it would be quite impossible to mistake the place, being labeled and all….Your third one, however, is not… But most, if not everyone who is or was from Baguio would know that that place is not Session road… It’s a picture of Magsaysay road, a completely different road from what you are talking about…

    You are defending good points sir, but it seems too negative when heard by the other party. You can do better.
    Nice try.
    Good day.

    1. @Just Sayin said: “I would also like to point out, kind sir, that Baguio isn’t the only city in Benguet…”

      Last time I checked, Baguio IS the only City in Benguet.

      Additionally, it seems that many of the reactions to this article are more negative and filled with ad hominems than the author himself. If indeed the author was “negative,” then he did it without any ad hominems.

      1. MidwayHaven, forgive me, but I meant to say municipality or town if you would prefer.. Baguio is not the only place responsible for illegal logging in the province.

        … Yes, you wouldn’t be able to avoid such reactions when people are defending what they believe in..
        Although it would help if you’ve got your facts straight first to avoid people assuming that you don’t really understand what you’re talking about…

      2. MidwayHaven, forgive me, what I meant to say was municipality or town if you prefer.
        Baguio should not be the only one to be held liable for the illegal logging in the province…
        That said, such reactions cannot be avoided when people defend their point. It would help, however, by checking sources and making sure you’ve got your facts straight first to avoid harsh criticism…

  26. there are other ways for increasing tourism…although not as fast earning as SM but it sure is SUSTAINABLE if people even know what sustainable means…tsk,…please do not keep on posting comments and mentioning ” we, the residents of the cordilleras” or “we, the cordillerans”…please people!!.. we don’t share the same view… hks… and some of the people agreeing and commenting on this are not even originally from Baguio…tsk…Hug development my crap…

  27. well… i agree with the writer. ganito lang yan eh, property ng sm yun eh. bat natin sila babawalan sa development ng land nila? gusto nyo rin ba na pagbawalan kayong patayuan ng bahay nyo yung nabili nyong lupa? cmon mamon… lahat ng pinagpatayuan nyo ng mga bahay nyo eh siguradong pumutol kayo ng puno para maitayo ang mga tahanan nyo. tama ba? lahat ng bundok rito eh punong puno ng trees, anu yon? nagpatayo kayo ng bahay sa ibabaw ng mga puno na yun? ehehe i have nothing to say anymore. magisip isip naman po sana muna…

    1. Agbain ka nga ibagam nga baguio_boy ka. Jai logic mu ket stupid… ti pinuted mu nga kayo tapnu ipatakder mu ti balay para iti pamilyam ket sabali ijai putedem ti kayo tapnu aramidem nga commercial area purely for profit. Profit is not equal to a family home or dwelling. Arguing a construction of a family dwelling to provide shelter for you family to a construction of a commercial area for profit is illogical. Kaslam nga ikomkompara ti banag nga haan awan agpareho an da. Common sense padli = Logic 101.

  28. Paul Farol is a REDUCTIONIST who simply blogs. He says the SM protestors are different from those who are saving Sto. Tomas Forest Reserve (and the rest of Baguio, Cordillera, and the rest of our exploited country); he knows them, eh??? I have been in and am supportive of ALL of the efforts to address environmental issues in Baguio (and elsewhere), and I AM NOT a SM basher/ pine tree hugger nor cave dweller). Paul, don’t even name names and labels, that’s a simplistic ploy; good, responsble bloggers must be intelligible in argumentation. (I am an environmental historian, a past ExDir of Baguio Historical Society, retired faculty member of UP Baguio, past BOT member of at least 3 national environmental NGOS that fund CSO efforts, and I have like-minded friends and unknown Volunteer advocates working re BOTH SM’s corporate greed (w/ pine tree cutting as only one of the many issues) and the Sto. Tomas destruction, among several other issues, to SAVE BAGUIO.

    1. So, your idea of “intelligible in argumentation” is flashing your credentials as member of whatever entity, and reducing the author to a label of “reductionist”?

      Tsk tsk.

    2. Ms. Boquiren:

      First of all, with all due respect, you can’t just say you’re “NOT a [sic] SM basher” and then immediately talk about “SM’s corporate greed” without evidence. Can you please cite reliable sources that claim SM is “greedy”?

      Secondly, to say that Mr. Farol is a “reductionist” and not a “responsble [sic] blogger” is an ad hominem attack. If you read the essay above, you’ll see that he’s been to Baguio, seen SM’s efforts to mitigate its impact, and has seen the destruction on Sto. Tomas for himself. Where is the evidence for your claims?

      Third, no one’s calling you a “cave dweller,” so please don’t use this premise to demean yourself with regards to that paragraph of credentials you put up after your opinion.

      1. I have read other posts of Mr. Farol where he used “cave dweller” as reference to those who are against SM’s actions on Luneta Hill. And if you are not familiar with the background context of the issues, sorry, such info is shared by those who will respectfully request (not demand) to know. And I know both Grace and Atty. Cheryll who are my respected friends, I know very well the differences in their views and positions.

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