What is the City of Pines, without pines?

-Michael Bengwayan, Mountain Warrior

via Mike Arvisu

This is the $ 8 billion investment that Mr. Sy wants to replace the pine forest with. This is also the undervalued sale of the disputed property initiated by Former President Cory Aquino and eventually sold by the government through Executive Secretary Ochoa while the permit to destroy the forest given by DENR Sec Paje. DENR granted a cutting, balling and pruning permit to SMDC upon the instruction of a clearance signed by DENR Sec. Ramon Paje on Oct.2011.

Lastly, that hill sits on three earthquake faults.

It may be recalled that a taxpayer filed a complaint against the President . Through a letter to House Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez, “the president of the Philippine Association of Revenue Informers Danilo Lihaylihay alleged the President committed “massive tax evasion, fraud and graft and corrupt practices, through conspiracy and connivance” for the sale of a 3.4-hectare property to SM Investments Corporation.”

Lihaylihay said the copy of the absolute deed of sale, which he acquired, recently involves the “Governor’s Park” or the 34,528 square meters Luneta Hill property along Governor Pack Road where SM Baguio is located today.

Friends who are in this fight to save the 182 trees as they continue the petition to save 182 pine trees. SM Development Corp (SMDC) is set to cut 43 fully grown Alnus japonica trees while also intending to uproot 97 growing pine trees (Pinus kesiya) and 42 saplings virtually sentencing to death a total of 182 trees within the Luneta Hill area where SMDC is found to pave way for another parking lot.

In Baguio, the pine trees, aside from the cold weather, are the main attractions for tourists, homebuyers and businesses. It is not the malls that tourists go to Baguio for. The question remains: Why would SM mall like to remove more pine trees in its 1,500- square-meter property in Luneta Hill, which is one of the last patches of green in the city’s fast-decaying downtown?

What is the City of Pines, without pines?