Non-Baguio Resident Noemi Dado Muddles The Issues Behind SM Baguio Tree Cutting

With all due respect to the people that are crying over the cutting of trees in SM Baguio’s property, I’d like to point out that they’re still unclear about what their “issue” is.

To make it easier for them, let me ask them simple question in an attempt: Is the issue the loss of forest cover or is it runaway land development?

Thing is, we have to throw out any issue regarding the historical value of the trees that were cut because the trees have no such value. We also have to throw out the issue of aesthetics because as far as that is concerned, Baguio has long lost the allure that it once had when it was run by the Americans nearly a century ago.

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As for legal issues, that matter has been decided by the Court of Appeals when the Baguio RTC’s decision favoring SM Baguio.

As citizens, when confronting issues, we owe it to ourselves to define what the issues or problems are so that we can more accurately come up with the right positions or the right solutions.

So far, Noemi Dado Lardizabal aka @momblogger on Twitter has been muddling the issue and has doing a disservice to the entire Baguio community which must live with the consequences of the noise she is making over an issue she has no grasp of whatsoever.

Popular social media 'activist' Noemi Dado regularly pitches Samsung products in between her social awareness tweets.

Popular social media ‘activist’ Noemi Dado regularly pitches Samsung products in between her social awareness tweets.

Noemi has been engaged in brand bashing against SM for over two years now on the flimsy pretext of being aghast by mall culture and how it eats up small businesses. Thing is, that kind of position (being anti-mall culture) is highly inconsistent or outright contradictory to her promotion of brands like Samsung, Globe, or Ayala Land Inc as well as the interests of big multinational pharmaceuticals in the Philippines.

Going back to defining what the issues are in Baguio City, here is how it plays out…

If the issue is the loss of forest cover, we have to ask: What manner or type of activity poses a bigger threat to forest conservation efforts in Benguet? Is it the cutting of 182 trees in an urban area or is it the loss of thousands of trees in watershed areas?

I’d say it is the loss of thousands of trees in watershed areas and so far, one of the biggest horrors that happened last year was Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr.’s decimation of nearly 800 trees in the Sto. Tomas watershed in Tuba, Benguet which supplies water to Baguio City. It’s a good thing that the congressman was SUED for this ILLEGAL ACT.

Part of the news story published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer reads…

Benguet provincial prosecutor William Bacoling on Monday said the complaint, which stemmed from a road project linked to Aliping in Mt. Santo Tomas, was filed by Octavio Cuanso, acting Benguet provincial environment and natural resources officer, on behalf  of the DENR Cordillera regional office on June 6.

Bacoling said the complaint was assigned to assistant provincial prosecutor Raymund Botengan.

Aside from Aliping, the other respondents  were William Go, president of Goldrich Construction; Romeo Aquino of RU Aquino Construction Development Corp., and Bernard Capuyan, managing officer of BLC Construction and Aggregates.

Bacoling said Aliping and the construction firms’ officials were accused of violating Presidential Decree No. 705 (Revised Forestry Code), particularly Section 77 on cutting, removing, gathering or collecting timber from a forest reservation, and Section 78 on the unlawful occupation and destruction of forest and grazing lands.

A bigger picture presented in a report from The Baguio Midland Courier cites the results of official studies by the DENR regarding the loss of forest cover in the Cordilleras.

In the 2013 State of the Forest Report for Benguet, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cited reduction of forest covers resulted in decreasing water availability and rising risk on water quality, soil erosion resulting in loss of fertility, and the increasing disastrous and hazard-enhancing effect of climate change.

The report also stated the province is losing 80 hectares of forest land annually, with around 17 ha. being lost to conversion of forest land to other uses and 63 hectares degraded due to forest fires and timber poaching.

In terms of achieving the target of total forest expansion of 56,700 ha., about 31,752 ha. or 56 percent is targeted as sites suitable for forest restoration through reforestation and 24,948 ha. for natural regeneration through assisted natural regeneration and protection efforts.

The DENR said to achieve the target forest expansion in 50 years, all reforestation targets must be attained in 10 years and subsequent development planning that accelerates the attainment of the natural regeneration targets in succeeding 40 years, including mass-based replanting and protection efforts.

With that said, it should be pretty clear that the 60 trees that were cut down in Luneta Hill recently is but a very small fraction of the 80 hectares a year lost to forest conversion, forest fires, and timber poaching.

Now, on the other hand, those bashing SM Baguio are going to point out that the mall is destroying Baguio and that would be cherry picking.

One person who lives in Baguio City and is very much part of the community there is Lisa Araneta, a person who is far more credible when it comes to all things Baguio than Noemi Dado.

This is what Lisa said about the degradation of quality of life in Baguio City…

“The city is overpopulated, residents park/wash their cars on the roads because they do not have garages… …there are thousands of colorum jeepneys and taxis, the jeepneys use up every available parking space in the city center to wait for passengers (and the drivers pee right there kaya mapanghi), this mayor and the one before him have created really confusing detours ostensibly to ease up the traffic but those of us who are not blind can see that this is designed so all roads lead to SM (you know what is in it for them, right?). So yes, everyone has contributed to turning my Heaven into Hell — and the residents believe it is the fault of the tourists. Hellow???

“Those residents who are surprised by the influx of visitors during the Christmas season must not be oldtimers. Since the 60s (I can only remember that far) Baguio’s peak periods are Holy Week and Christmas. Since 1995, the Panagbenga parade weekend.

“Baguio makes it easy for just about anybody to build a shanty on whatever available space there is. Baguio allows PUJ/taxi waiting sheds, or even barangay halls to be appropriated by some official and turned into private property. Baguio thrives on its diploma mills city drama and celebrates carinderias and poverty. Baguio either issues building permits for houses to be built on cliff sides or does not require occupancy permits. Baguio officials are ALL tradpols and the stupider the population, the better. BTW we have ZERO garbage REDUCTION efforts, because the mayor prefers to spend tax money on hauling (we know there is pera in basura, don’t we?) Same shit, different day.”

85 Replies to “Non-Baguio Resident Noemi Dado Muddles The Issues Behind SM Baguio Tree Cutting”

  1. The issue is about the RUINING the environment and surroundings in place for a SUBSTANDARD development, and the SM Group is pretty consistent in promoting their business at the expense of the environment’s destruction, which in effect affects the community living near the place.

    This is the worst thing about the SM Group of companies. Unlike other developers like Ayala which really complements their architectural design of their buildings with nature, SM Group literally DESTROYS the surroundings for their SUBSTANDARD Buildings. Just look at SM Malls, SMDC and all other SM-Owned Companies, all of their establishments are causing “SPATIAL CHAOS”. One obvious testament to this is the SM Megamall. mantakin mong umabot na sa EDSA ung building nila. Kaya pag daan mo sa Ortigas, may BOTTLE-NECK ng Traffic kasi ung Mall nasa daan na.

    Grabe! Yes, they have permits. But obviously, they BRIBE the local officials to give them the permit. Parang ung SM Condo lang sa Katipunan, Herbert Bautista was given money by SM to allow the construction of the said condo, despite the opposition of the residents living there. These Chinese Businessmen are really RUINING our country. EVERSINCE. They are making money at the EXPENSE of the Filipino People’s welfare. And of course, they are conniving with CORRUPT governenment officials to allow them to do ILLEGAL Business that TAKES ADVANTAGE of Filipinos.

    Now you know why these Chinese Businessmen are getting rich in our very own soil. Come to think of it, yayaman ka ba ng ganyan kalaki sa bansang naghihirap ang mga tao? There’s only one way to get rich in a poor country, and that is to EXPLOIT the POOR more. Its only a matter of time before all the Local Businesses here will be owned by these greedy businessmen. even the government are selling their assets (i.e. Filipino People’s Assets) to these Chinese-Owned corporations. Worst of all, they don’t even care about the service they are providing the Filipinos.

    Oh right! Kasi nga naman, they don’t consider themselves Filipinos. They still think of themselves as CHINESE even if they already lived here in the country most of their life and made a living here. Their allegiance is still with their Ancestral Land which is China. Sa isip at puso nila, mga Intsik pa rin sila. Secondary lang ang pagiging Pilipino. Nagiging Pilipino lang ang mga Businemen na ito kapag magnenegosyo na sa bansa natin. Kapag kikita lang ng pera, dun lang sila magiging Pilipino kuno. Pero sa mga low points of our history, THEY ARE ASHAMED OF BEING ONE OF US. They are even EXPLOITING us is our “down” times. Just look at this news above. That is just one case. Palaging may ganyang klaseng news of exploittation, starting from the community level up to the national level, luging lugi si Juan dela cruz.

    Really sad! I’m hoping that the Filipino Chinese Youth will not follow the footsteps of their greedy ancerstors and will CONSIDER THEMSELVES REAL FILIPINOS, by heart. Pilipino sa ISPI at sa GAWA. Dont make being a Filipino JUST an OPTION.

    EMBRACE being a Filipino.

      1. I can’t believe your that stupid and blinded. And its really funny how you made this citation from the court (referring to your comment below), which is also downright stupid. (Well, what can you expect from our courts in the first place.)

        The citation of the court of that “study” which says that the cutting of trees will not affect the environment and the people is WAY OUT OF PLACE. Here’s why.

        SM cut 60 trees, sixty living trees. They not only cut the trees, they also WIPED OUT the existing ecosystem WITHIN it. Not just disturbed, take note, but wiped out. ERASED.

        You may argue that that is insignificant, that it will not give the people of Baguio any hazardous effects, and that the oxygen level will not be reduced – as cited from a study by an expert kuno.

        Yes, that study may be right, FOR NOW. Based on current evidence, the cutting down of 60 trees will not affect the People of Baguio significantly in terms of the above-mentioned effect.

        But who’s stupid enough not to think that it will not affect the residents in the future? That may be small and insignificnt compared to wiping out a forest, but allowing of cutting of trees even if its in small number(60 is not really a small number) will eventually lead to the degradation of the environment, hence the term destruction.

        Did you forget na pumutol nga ng sandamakmak na Pine Trees ang SM para matayo ang mall na yan, despite the residents protests. And same case din, any study would conclude that that cutting of trees is not “significantly hazardous” to the peoples health. FYI, that will always be the result as long as there is a big forest existing around it and Baguio has that Geographic characteristic. So using that study is really way out of place.

        Maghihbintay pa ba tayo ng panahon na ramdam na natin ang negatibong epekto ng pagputol ng puno? Cutting of a tree, worst of trees has a negative consequence. That’s a fact. The DIRECT consequence may not be felt now, but surely it will be felt in the future. Not just aesthetically(just examine how ugly the surrounding became after cutting the tree), but all other aspects of living will be affected.

        Also, the cutting of trees goes beyond the argument of oxygen level production. It is also a matter of virtue. The fact that you took a living thing out of this earth, not just one tree but 60 trees together with the existing ecosystem within it is a complete injustice and blatant disregard of nature.

        If we are going to allow this kind of acts, with support from our stupid courts, then its only a MATTER OF TIME before the previously mentioned effect will be felt by the People of Baguio. And the magnitude of that effect is substantial for sure. The residents may not feel the negative effect now, but surely in the future, it will have a negative consequence to the environment. And that’s the issue WE,the people irritated by the cutting, are more concerned about.

        1. this is what you said, “the cutting of trees goes beyond the argument of oxygen level production. It is also a matter of virtue.”

          if it is a matter of “virtue” as you say, then you have to ask yourself who kills and continues to kill more trees up in Benguet or the whole CAR?

          Do you know how many trees there are in the 80 hectares that are lost every year because of land conversation (farming), forest fires (kaingin), and timber poaching?

          I bet you can’t figure that one out, but lets just say the number of trees lost are in the tens of thousands!

          And here you are bawling over 60 trees.

      2. So, anyone can blog now, even a monkey can type. You get views by opening a scandal and making a flame thread out of it.

        To the premise that your home is an environment, though you live in it, cutting you out does make the deed destruction. Same with those trees nitwit!

        Having these trees alive rather than you breathing is more intelligent of a move ever by humanity.

        Boohoo if i’m rude. I mirrored your mindset, i just made it better. 🙂

        1. i don’t get it, you have no argument whatsoever aside from hitting on the author instead of the article.

          expansion is inevitable in all growing cities, funny thing is, you guys chose to cherry pick the ones who actually chose to earth ball and not cut the trees, the one with green walls, the ones with a sewage system and a rainwater catchment tank.

          now i’d prefer trees over concrete any day but surely you people can look at the bigger picture here.

    1. read this and try to understand…

      The CA pointed out that the three points raised by the petitioners were not warranted at all, the most significant of which was that there was no “proof of damage to the environment.” The lower court found that the complainants own environment expert – Dr. Armando M. Palijon of the University of the Philippines (UP) – was not able to establish that SM’s removal of pine trees would destroy the environment:

      In contrast, while admitting that the cutting or earthballing of said trees will indeed have a negative effect on the environment, the evidence adduced by the defendants would show that it will not result to irreparable injury to the environment and detrimental to the residents of the City of Baguio.

      It is worth to note that parts of testimony of the Plaintiffs’ witness, Dr. Palijon, were substantially lifted from scientific literatures. In fact, he studied the actual health of the subject trees, and assessed the mitigating measures based on the EPRMP as approved by the proper regulatory agency (TSN-28 March 2011). The witness was consulted by SMPH to study the Benguet pine and alnus trees in Luneta Hill and has examined 82 of the subject trees around two months prior March 28, 2012 (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 11). The witness, a duly qualified tree expert (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 5), admitted that there will, indeed be a reduction in the trees’ beneficial

      contributions to the environment, if removed. He qualified, however that it is not substantial and that the environment (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 55). He testified that there will be no hazardous effect on the health of the people of Baguio if the subject trees are taken out of the particular area where SM City Baguio is located. This is because the removal will be compensated by the green building that will be constructed, the 2.000 trees already planted in Busol Watershed and 30,000 more trees that will be planted within the next three years (TSN, March 28, 2012, pp. 14-15). Based on an article written by Nowak and Crane on oxygen production by urban trees in the United States published in the Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Journal (Exhibit 2), the witness testified that the diminution of Oxygen will not be substantial because of the removal of the 182 trees (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 18.)

      In upholding this view, the CA even chided the petitioners for basing its appeal on the TEPO issued by the lower court temporarily stopping the pine tree removal by SM while the case was being heard. The petitioners argued that the lower court’s decision was inconsistent because it had issued that TEPO.

        1. Sir ikaw ang isang magandang halimbawa ng isang tao na walang paki-alam sa kanyang kapaligiran pero mangsisi sa bandang huli. Hindi po ako perpekto indi din ako environmentalist pero ang isang ordinaryong kagaya ko nga alam ang epekto ng 60 na pine trees na yon ikaw pa kaya na mataas ang pinag aralan? Kun ilagay namin kayo sa lilim ng isang kahoy sa kalagitna-an ng mainit na panahon o di kaya kung umuulan at bigla tong putolin ano kaya marardaman mo sir?

          Sir Pwede po ba namin ang opinion nyo po about global warming?

      1. I will gladly look for the earth balled pine trees and stick them up your nose para matandaan mo yung ganda ng disenyo ng nature. Putangina mo

    1. Someone cut a tree, a living tree, and not just ONE tree, but 60 LIVING TREES. Of course we are hating them! We are hating for valid reasons. What do you want to do, idolize them for wiping out an ecosystem?

  2. eh bakit ba patayo ng patayo ang Sm ng mga malls? para sa kapritsyo ng ibang mga pinoy,S’sa mga pa sosyal n kabataan,kaya ang mga maliliit na negosyante,nawawalan ng kita kc mas pinipili nilang pumasok sa mall kc sosyal nga nman…kaya ang labas..mga intsik lang ang nakakaipon,..

      1. Ser, Di naman po ako maka SM o kahit anong panig. Ang gusto ko lang po malaman, bakit nga po ba kinailangan putulin yung mga puno? samantalang ito ay parte sa kultura ng City of Pines. Wala po ba kayong pakialam sa disenyo at arkitektura ng Baguio? Putangina niyo po

      2. Ikaw po ang waste sir. Sorry po pero sana isipin nyo din ang epekto nito. Di na ako magugulat pag magka landslide sa dyan na part Ng baguio

      3. Such a fool. Stop pinpointing that everyone’s brand bashing SM. You actually sound like the brand barker of that company. Why are you so passionate about justifying the tree cutting activity anyways? Hope you get a heart attack you piece of shit.

      4. pre, medyo personal na yata yung attack na yan. dun na lang tayo sa issue. may point ka naman eh. your right should be your might. payong kaibigan lang.

  3. With all due respect Sir, you don’t share the same sentiments with the locals cos simply, you are not born and bred in Baguio. You will never understand.

    1. I’m from Baguio and I live here as well, and honestly I don’t share the same sentiments as many so-called “environmentalists” in this city.

  4. Look, if the critics are going to be all over SM, where were they when a hill along Marcos Highway got bulldozed for a residential project or when trees were cut along the foot of former Bokawkan road for a multilevel building ? If you really are for the environment, don’t go after the big fish just to make yourself popular. If a person says he or she is truly from Baguio, then why did we just hear their voices when SM was the issue ? Or a congressman ? How about the residential condo’s or hotels that blossom in every corner of your city ? Don’t be hypocrits and claim to cry for a city where you just let words flow but don’t lift a finger to do about it ….

  5. I am an Architect and a resident of Baguio.
    You sir are not and wont understand the issue and why residents react this way.

    First, the watershed tree cutting is a whole new issue on deforestation in the cordilleras. although it is similar as both are on cutting of trees, however, MALI PO NA ISASAMA NIYO ITO SA ISSUE NA ITO.

    Second, with all due respect, in an architect’s point of view, SM Baguio’s architecture in the first place is wrong in many points. WHO does plant a building right in the center of a site for God’s sake?! in my honest opinion and in practice architects should always leave a space in a site for further expansion which the moron SM called an architect did not consider. Next is if you would analyze the building, on the technical aspect, the parking requirement for such wasn’t computed properly. The National Building code has parking requirements for public structures as this. Then the issue on its roof structure, WHO IN THE RIGHT MIND would use tensile fabric when rainy season here in Baguio comes with heavy winds too resulting to the building’s interior to be wet when there’s a storm. And now for expansion they would resolve it as what they presented?! This is because, the architect is not from Baguio, thus he doesnt know the typology and other technical aspects he shhouldve known and should have incorporated in his design.

    My point is. What is happening in Baguio now is because of people like you sir and the architect who are not from Baguio but act like you know everything there is to the place.

    Akala niyo po alam niyo lahat even putting a nonsense angle as such n “neomi dado” who cares if the person promotes samsung contrasting to being antimall?! the big picture is that SM couldve just bought another land and came up with another branch mall for its expansion like what they do in Manila rather than having to ruin Luneta hill.

    for short. HINDI NIYO PO ALAM ANG PINAGSASASABI NIYO, and just citing things from court and tabloids wont make you know the whole story only half of it.

    1. I’ve done more than cite from court decisions and tabloids, I’ve been to Baguio City many times to study the loss of forest cover and that is the bigger issue here — not SM or the trees it has cut.

      Like I said, 60 trees were cut in Baguio City while 80 hectares a year is lost all over Benguet because of timber poaching and kaingin

      1. with all due respect sir,you are very stupid blogger! it is easy for you to say that but you really dont know the effect of this tress that has been cutted. do you really know what global warming is?are you aware of landslides in baguio?are you aware of water problem in the please dont you act like you know everything. isa ka lng ngmamagaling n blogger na gustong sumikat. you fool!

  6. One more thing, its actually not the environmental issue, its the Identity of the place that SM ruined. if only you have seen Baguio’s picture from afar. its a conglomeration of past meets present. Urban scape with dashes of trees. Wala kasi atang ganito sa lugar ninyo eh, Manila or example, a highly urbanized area, na ultimo saang sulok wala ng tanim wala ng puno. eh saamin kahit papano meron pa, onti nalang pero at least meron. Eh nagkataon tinangalan pa, so i share the sentiments with the residents having the though na, “ay, ang Baguio ibang iba na from what i remember, from what i grew up in”

  7. Lang hiya ka sir! Nawawala ang identity ng Baguio city. Kaya nga sila tinawag na city of pines dba? Educado ka pa naman sir! Nasaan utak mo? Tama si Mr. Lopez at Ms. Nepomucen. Sana naman pag-isipan mo pinagsasabi mo kasi ang mga taga Baguio ninakawab na nga ng identity, ninakawan pa nang Karapatan sa malinis na hangin, ngayon parang sinasabi mo na ok lang na lagasin lahat Ng puno sa Baguio city. Maawa naman po kayo sa susunod na generation.

  8. The act of deleting people’s comments criticizing you is timid enough to not defend yourself from them. Please do respect the people you are facing with and help them find the light you are trying to point out to them if there is any. If you cannot defend yourself, then please delete this blog post of yours. We will not serve you respect if you also do not respect us and our opinions.

    Please correct your facts about your statement: “Thing is, we have to throw out any issue regarding the historical value of the trees that were cut because the trees have no such value.”

  9. Oh yeah, and btw check this out: “Amateur grass grower and fruit tree enthusiast.” “Lusts after tools and gadgets at Handyman, Ace Hardware, and Japan Home Depot.”

    And you were just saying how Noemi Dado was muddling about her Samsung products while you’re caption to yourself also contradicts.

    Again, please straighten your facts.

    Yes, this is disrespect to your face.

  10. Yes, let’s blame the architects. While we are it, let’s blame also the architects who built the four to five stories hotels and condominiums along burnham, along Legarda, in your hillsides such as Bakakeng and in Navy Base or that road going to Mines View. We might as well blame the architects of those who build houses in that forsaken mountain going to La Trinidad. Where were you environmental hypocrits then ? If SM bought another land, you would still be up in arms because it is SM and nothing more. Tell me, what did you do about John Hay ? That’s a really beautiful “architectural” piece of work that was put up beside the golf course !

    1. At least those establishments are not contradicting of what they are trying to do, unlike SM on the other hand, who is building a “green” sky park which is to supposed to promote the environment by cutting 182 HIGHLY-VALUED trees. Ridiculous.

      1. how many trees did they cut in John Hay ? how many were felled to make the Log cabins and “hotel” ? how many trees were put down just so people can go out for golf ? if you are blaming one, why let the other get away ? just because it’s SM ? contradicting isn’t it ? if you really “love” Baguio, why didn’t you sue them ? ridiculous … and you say that that house beside the golf is doing its part for the environment ?

        1. Jason, we made mistakes sa past natin kaya nga as much as possible we have to prevent further destruction ng environment. Hope you ynderstand that.

  11. don’t blame people outside Baguio. blame yourselves for not raising a hand … for letting it get out of control. sure, call us stupid because we don’t know “Baguio” …. Just don’t let it bite you in the ass since you are from Baguio …

  12. this post is very different from other GRP articles. I was in Baguio last jan 1, it was different from what it was 10 years ago. It looked like a huge slum area just like Manila. Im also anti-mall, i webt to Baguio to relax and not go to a freaking big mall that sells the same thing in Manila or anywhere in the Philippines. I wanted to see locally made goods, small shops though not that pretty and too clean, im pretty sure that the owners are striving hard to make a living out of it.

  13. to paul farrol, you are just a nincompoop who struts about his “ego” for being knowledgeable in legal aspect but a complete moron when it comes to being a smart human being. You are just an entity on earth who cares nothing but his “snooty” cold hearted personality. Go live in the dessert paul farrol.

  14. Jason, shut up! you are not from Baguio, di ba? you do not understand how is it in Baguio. You do not know how things are in Baguio. In short, you know nothing about Baguio. Common sense should tell you to mind your own business about things you know nothing at all.

    1. really ? you tell me to shut up just because I’m not from your “environmentally” friendly summer capital of Baguio ? if I was from Baguio, I’d at least have the decency to think, “ay oo nga noh? taga-Baguio ako pero I let this happen. oo nga, bakit nga ba SM lang tinitira ko ? baka ksi gusto ko long sumikat?” if you can’t take the criticism, then don’t bother replying … by the way, how is your garbage ? doing anything about that ? preparing for another garbage landslide ?

  15. If they continue cutting trees; there will more landslides, soil erosion and flood. If you tinker with nature. Nature will surely fight back. Mountains in the Cordillera are already bare…lowlands will surely be flooded, in due time…

    Whoever vested interest is; the conservation of trees should be implemented…

  16. in a country such as the Fail-ippines , the trees are a valuable stop gap means to flood-waters being prevented from swallowing entire cities. The logging going on 24/7 in Northern Mindanao is going to come back and bite people in the ass one of these days.
    The amount of timber being hauled out of the jungles there is HUGE and is certainly more serious than what is going on in Baguio. Every single day for the last 7 years, at least, trailers with logs on them traverse the Northern Mindanao Highway from 10PM to 7 AM and then it stops and is resumed again @ night. WHY IS THIS? Who is responsible, and is it legal?it is not my country but even I, an EX-PAT, notice this and it is obviously being done on the D.L. or why would it not happen during day light hours?

    in the beginning of this essay it is alleged that the trees have ‘no historical value’ is certainly untrue. The value of trees throughout history should/can never be under-estimated for they are a valuable natural resource: hard to replace and do not happen over-night.

  17. Take time to read that article.

    I grow up in Baguio City, my daughter was also born in Baguio City. For the John hay issue, the cutting of trees in John hay were greatly opposed by the residents, but at the end of the day this is a government and private co establishment and residents can not do anything about it. As for sm Baguio. The land there are just being rented by sm Baguio. When you rent , you are not supposed to destroy the trees. The main problem here is the judiciary system. It is hard to go against something when the agency which should be protecting is the one who will go against . Yes we do care about the 60 trees, simply because Baguio City’s environment is important to us who care and cherished the past and the present and we want the future to be of the essence of Baguio. By now we are living in Australia and cutting of trees is not as easy as the ay Philippines does. People and agency gets fined and imprisoned just by cutting a tree without a permit, and getting of a permit is a very complex thing. Some malls here have trees inside simply because they don’t wanna cut it. Simply because they respect the Living, the blogger has no sign that he knows the word respect, a thorough education and empathy. Who cares about noemi dado, she is but one selfish creature who got blinded by Samsung technology in which I assume does not even understand how Samsung products are being promoted as green products now a days.

    1. yes. if you look at how and what happened, we do have a problem with our judiciary and government agencies. I’m looking at this from as an outsider, just as the blogger and he pointed the “judiciary” view of what happened. I just can’t take it when people come out and bash the haters by saying we have no right because we are not from Baguio. If the people of Baguio are really adamant, they would have not let this happen. And they wouldn’t start or stop with SM only.

      1. Because it was completely unnecessary. Planting more trees does not justify the cutting. We are not just protecting trees. We are protecting landscapes, ecosystems, and biodiversities here. Try to understand what baguio is truly known for before you say anything stupid, stupid.

        1. yes, we are stupid. but it bites you back doesn’t it, now that issues like these keep coming up. you let this happen to your city. don’t hate the haters just because their views seem to pick a nerve. if you want us to say something good, then do something about it. it’s your city, and you are letting it die.

        2. Hay nako Jason, pilosopong wala sa lugar, eto na lang sana maranasan mo ang galit ng kalikasan upang mapurol ang matalim na dila mo na yan.

        3. Which is why I don’t understand why you speak out only when SM was the issue. Is the ecosystem of a hill any different from that of a group of trees ? Is that of a river any different ? It’s a rational question of any rational mind. I’m sorry if we tend to be blunt but until we see real change in your “environment”, you have no else to curse but yourself. Until then, I’ll still see you as hypocrits of Mother Nature.

  18. ang oa nyo, kayo din naman makikinabang ng expansion nila. If you really feel sorry for the trees, then make sure wag kau mag shop sa sm baguio ha! taga bagiuo rin ako. And seriously i personally prefer the expansion. Ksi naman ang konti ng mga malls duon sa baguio. Tapos etong sm baguio ang konti ng mga shops nila. So hopefully with this expansion, mas dumami ang options for shoppers like me. So 60 trees, so? Eh baguio nga is getting too over populated, did anyone do anything about that, no! As a result, they build more residential areas. Ayun dba they cut trees din. Sometimes illegally pa nga! Dati puro hills? Green pastures nakikita ko sa mines view, eh ngayon puro mga residential areas. Nobody stopped din naman. Di nga na news eh. Tapos un sm nag cut ng trees pansin pansin nyo agad, mejo kornyo nyo.

    1. Sir, your preference of having a mall rather than an area of paradise makes you a sick, dimwitted, dumbfuck. Ikea ang isa sa mga reason bakit nagdedegrade ang baguio. Putangina mo.

      1. we’ll see. once they put up that parking lot, its gonna be full to the brim. ’cause the citizens don’t really give a damn. they’ll continue to go to SM, go to John Hay, build more condominiums, hotels, and let the environment go to waste. ok, let’s say a few might raise the issue, might go post their feelings on the internet, go rally, go on a strike and whatever…. but nothing will change. well, maybe more trees will be cut since nobody really intends to lift a finger.

        1. Within the 3 years that SM planned the expansion, it seems that the only thing that Baguio’s so-called “environmentalists” latched onto was the SM plan itself.

          At almost the same time that they were protesting this in 2012, 1000 trees were being cut at the San Luis subdivision across town; none of the protesters did anything.

          Only one person stood up for the 1000 trees cut at Mount Sto. Tomas, and she isn’t even an environmentalist.

          The ultimate hypocrisy here was that when a certain blockbuster movie was being premiered at SM Baguio Cinema, many of the movement’s most vocal leaders sneaked in and watched it there.

          In the end, these “environmentalists” can’t even be consistent with their advocacy (and it shows in the Court of Appeals decision).

        2. The man speaks the truth, I will not be surprised if this actually happens. Parking is almost a luxury in the CBD, good luck if you can actually find one come weekends or holidays.

          A large problem with the people within Baguio City is that they keep constructing/renting houses without garages and turning the driveway into a freaking parking lot. Road widenings are now equivalent to roadside parking nowadays.


          Can’t blame them environmentalists when SM is the only one with a decent cinema right now in Baguio.

  19. Sir, you have to understand that trees are part of a community’s history. How could you write a blog without understanding what you utter. Cutting an isolated tree may be justified but when trees grow together, they for a living ecosystem that help animal and human communities thrive. People like you should burn in hell for trying to act and sound smart but truly know nothing but words. I am telling you, sir, you should shut the fuck up cause you are a dimwitted asshole. true, an SM advocate who knows nothing but to hate on trees and immortalize the sickly activities of SM. I hope that when you die you get buried in wet cement since you’re so addicted to it anyway

    1. It was not my opinion that made the cutting of the trees possible. That opinion was made by experts in the court case filed at the RTC.

      This paragraph here comes from the CA Decision and it cites the expert brought in by PS182 (the group that filed a case against SM Baguio)

      “The witness, a duly qualified tree expert (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 5), admitted that there will, indeed be a reduction in the trees’ beneficial
      contributions to the environment, if removed. He qualified, however that it is not substantial and that the environment (TSN, March 28, 2012, p. 55). He testified that there will be no hazardous effect on the health of the people of Baguio if the subject trees are taken out of the particular area where SM City Baguio is located.”

      1. “there will be no hazardous effect on the health of the people of Baguio if the subject trees are taken out”
        This is stupid kind of minding. Every single tree contributes beneficial effect to environment as well as its inhabitant. Those who pursue development in the expense of the environment will better leave BAGUIO and try to live at the DESERT instead.

  20. “Is the issue the loss of forest cover or is it runaway land development?”

    The latter is the cause; the first is the effect, isn’t it?

    Well, you know, for me industrialization is fine as long as you build something better on what you take out or the replacement is better than the thing replaced. This is a very simple rule, if it cannot be followed then your industrialization or modernization indeed foster destruction. Since Baguio has growing population, they should also be open to “economic development”. Change is good it’s just that, I guess, your trusted officials know nothing about planning. What’s developing in a city is what the residents allow. On the argument that you are against it, it won’t change anything if there’s only the minority to act upon it.

    1. When I say loss of forest cover, I meant to refer to land that was previously a forested area and was converted for farming — which is usually the case in Benguet.

      By land development I refer to the expansion of cities and housing.

      Also, we have to quit the idea that we can still balance things. The only way that can happen is if we have a massive kill off of humans.

      1. Thanks for clearing things out, Sir. Thus the statement “Thing is, we have to throw out any issue regarding the historical value of the trees that were cut because the trees have no such value…” concerning the “real issue”. Sorry, my latter comments are directed to Baguio residents like I’m personally talking to them. I must admit after reading the almost blog comments and the hysterics about trees, I got confused myself. This Noemi surely succeeded in muddling the issue. I wasn’t careful in my analysis I have to reread your article again. As for balancing things, yes, the damage has been done but does that reach the point that the people there can’t do something about it?

  21. Nag-enjoy ako sa pagbasa ng mga comments dito pero sana comments lang walang mga salitang “PUTANG INA” at “OKIN INAM” nawawalan ng gana ang mga ibang nagbabasa na non violent ang nature nila kagaya ko he he he! Kasi dito sa amin sasabihin nila ang kanilang comments positive man o negative, ayos man o hindi pero walang samaan ng loob kasi opinyon lang naman nila yan. Kung ayaw mo ng opinyon ng iba eh di sabihin mo din ang sa yo pero walang putang ina mo sa huli okay ba? Baka naman sabihin ninyo pari ako bwahahahaha! Relax lang tayo mga pare ko. Sige mansooooo!!!! manen.

    1. Notice closely: the people here who use swear words and are tell the writer to “shut up” are those who are “anti-SM.” They can’t come up with a rebuttal, and therefore use various ad hominems instead.

  22. Well, they have a right to express themselves, problem is, they only come out when SM is the issue. That’s why to me, they’re hypocrits when they claim they do it for the sake of the environment. Did they raise an issue on the other projects that destroy what they claim is an ecosystem? And when one blogger presents facts of the case why it happened, they reply with emotions, and not facts.

  23. Sa masamang mangyayari sa inyo mga taong tinatawanan kaming who tries to preserve the nature in our little way sana makita nyo kami na nakatawa sa kabila ng inyong pagdudusa. Ito at isang sumpa na sana mangyari sa inyo dahil sa kasakiman ninyo.

    1. Hey ! How could yoube so insensitive ? After all the calamities that struck your city, you have the gaul to post that ? Do mean your “smiling” at those who were affected by the landslide in La Trinidad ? Or that momentous garbage slide a few years back ? Criticising is not the same as laughing. The blog presented the facts of the case. And we are presenting our views that you hypocrits only come out when SM is involved. So don’t degrade your fellowmen just to get away with your “cause.” And don’t involve the victims just to further your ideals. That’s way below the belt, even for human standards.

  24. Ugh, I wonder why no one so far has talked about the Court of Appeals decision, which says that ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF SAVE 182 PROCLAIMED IN COURT THAT THE TREE CUTTING AT SM WOULD ULTIMATELY HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

  25. All the blogs are reasonably bringing out the issues in city management of Baguio, what’s muddling the thread is when some of the bloggers think the SM protestors are just involved about tree cutting only (the protesting groups have been raising several strands of the issues there — so don’t reduce, don’t simplify their arguments, i.e., tree-cutting at SM is just a trigger, a focus now.) In the same way, those against Aliping’s destruction of Sto. Tomas Forest Reserve must not think that those against tree cutting issue in SM are not among the protestors against Aliping. No reductionist blogs, please. Kailangan magtulungan, walang bida-bida. So and so is not a muddler of the issue, and so and so are not raising the tree cutting issue only now — I directly and personally know this.

  26. Hi all,
    My first time in the Philippines as an adult in 1989, I recall Baugio a magical compared to all the other places in Luzon because of all the pine trees and the cool climate. I’ve been visiting the Philippines every 2 years since then. When I visited Baguio city in 2009 , I noticed quite a bit of development and not as cool as I remembered it in 1989, although it was still worth the drive from Burgos, ilocos Norte. I just visited Baguio again two days ago and I was very shocked at how the cityscape, landscape and climate. It felt like Manilla with the shanty houses mixed with large commercial development as it just plopped on the land with out much care of the scenic beauty or impact to the environment or the local population . What happened? I’m an practicing architect in Hawaii and we have maintained a balance between urban development and maintaining the environment the visitors come for. I do not want comment anymore with out understanding the circumstances of why Baguio City appears less appealing city to visit now. As a visitor, it seems a hard sell to be the Summer Capital of the Philippines. There are a lot beautiful places I have yet to visit in the Philippines. I just hope they develop responsibility for those areas that are potential tourist destinations.
    Richie br

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