Baguio bishop backs calls for boycott of SM malls over tree cutting


MANILA, Philippines—The Roman Catholic bishop of Baguio City supported calls by various groups on Wednesday for a boycott of SM malls across the country in protest of its clearing of trees to make room from the expansion of its mall in the City of Pines.

Bishop Carlito Cenzon said a boycott was one way to show how SM City Baguio had insulted the people and the authorities by defying court orders.

“They’ve already showed their hardened hearts [by defying the law] so the boycott must already begin.  Do not patronize them. Stay away from them,” Cenzon told reporters in a phone-patch interview Wednesday.

“We are appealing to [SM] not to proceed with the expansion anymore and stop harming our trees. It’s really a serious matter if they will destroy our oxygen tank,” he added.

The bishop said he was not sure whether other SM malls in the country have acted the same way “but if they also have this kind of policy, I advise the people to really think about it. Why do we continue to patronize a monster?”

Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch 6 on Tuesday issued a three-day temporary environmental protection order against SM, which barred it from proceeding with the transplanting of 182 alnus and pine trees from its Luneta Hill compound to make way for its expansion project.

Several environmental and religious groups in the area claimed that the SM group had refused to receive the court order and continued with the diggings.

“It’s a defiance of a standing court order… that’s a crime,” said the prelate, adding that the cutting or the uprooting of the trees was a sin against the people and God.

Cenzon said he was among those who protested the mall project, which included the balling of over a hundred trees to give way to an extension of the shopping mall.

“We have been protesting against it but the problem is why did the Department of Environment and Natural Resources allow it,” the prelate said.

According to SM City Baguio, consultations had been made with the DENR and environmental experts before it proceeded with the balling or uprooting of the trees with a small part of their root systems intact.

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  • Homer Guo

    business without social responsibility  should not be tolerated or supported.  after all, the likes of SM actually kills small business.

  • Homer Guo

    ” consultations had been made with the DENR” —- consultation or simple corruption?????

  • Denver Langcao 17

    They done this b4 look along Harison Road their are a hundreds of trees cut down their and they are doing it again along luneta hill. They are ruining our City shame on them . We do not even nid a mall here in Baguio  Get out.  Shame on themmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • kayzee tuba

    you’re not even from baguio and yet you choose to disregard what’s good for baguio (a city begging off from too much commercialization). it’s a shame the local officials who are supposed to act in the best interest of the city act like they are ready to sell the city’s soul.

  • Ommm

    And how many trees were cut to build the multitude of churches in this country??

    At least SM malls pay taxes!!

    • CarloT

      can’t you see the bottom line of this story?
      such a poor man..everybody is concerned about how to take care of the environment while you see other things with bitterness.   

    • pinoyjunk

      he-he-he. You are … BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE.

      Obob ka talaga Ommm. There are negligible number and type of trees cut to build churches. Most of the churches here, whatever religion, are surrounded by trees and some are planted with new tress around them.

      You should find a country where the church pays taxes and join that church (or cult) as you like. he-he-he.

  • 4kingdaddy

    SM should have had a foresight….why not just extend a storey or two to the existing building…this way, we save the trees and the mall gets its wishes of expansion….trees co-exist with us and are necessary for us to survive….i agree with the people baguio…what i do not agree with is the bishop’s call for boycott…if he wants to help, a dialogue with SM’s bigwigs is the first step that should have been taken…and i thought well-educated persons had learned the word “diplomacy”….now, if SM still insist on their expansion by cutting trees, then, i suggest people of baguio gather where the digging is going on and stay there to show to the world that “greed” is the worst enemy of mankind… the way, WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT OF BAGUIO DOING THROUGH ALL THIS?  nalagyan ba????….

    • julietearjerky

      WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT OF BAGUIO DOING THROUGH ALL THIS?” Sadly, the local government have decided to abandon its people with its mayor, Mauricio Domogan, saying that it cannot do anything as Luneta Hill is a private property owned by SM (this is still in question as former mayor Yaranon states that the area is still owned by the Philippine government).

      I am utterly disappointed with the Baguio LGU. 

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