BAGUIO CITY—Shopping mall giant, SM, is planting 330 new trees to replace 11 trees that had been sick since April.
The tree planting is one of the conditions set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the grant of a permit to SM to transfer trees from its property on Luneta Hill to another site for a project that seeks to expand its mall here using green technology.
SM had relocated 40 alnus trees and was in the process of uprooting a pine tree in April to make way for the expansion of SM City Baguio. But the process was suspended by an environmental lawsuit filed against the mall and the DENR.
A regional trial court judge, however, ruled early this month that the environmental impact of the mall expansion project and the loss of the trees could be mitigated.
Judge Antonio Esteves dismissed the complaints and lifted the temporary environmental protection order (Tepo) on Dec. 3. His order allowed SM to proceed with the relocation of the trees because lifting the Tepo reactivated SM’s tree-cutting permit.
DENR Regional Director Clarence Baguilat said DENR personnel confirmed that 30 of the 40 transplanted alnus trees survived the transfer within Luneta Hill and another area in Baguio. He said the 30 alnus trees represent a 73-percent survival rate.
Baguilat said the DENR permit that allowed the tree transfer remained valid. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon