Pooled Press Statement:
“That welcoming slogan proudly declaring Baguio City as the greenest city in the country not just outdated, it is hypocritical anymore. In the light of the pressing environmental concerns like man-made disasters and climate change, we need more trees here in the city,” says Rae Gaoat of Anakbayan Metro Baguio.
This is in reaction to SM Baguio’s expansion by building parking areas and other establishments on top, planning cut 172 trees in the process. “Aquino’s total log ban is lie. There are so many exemptions to the rule, like permits and exemptions being released to mining companies, real estate companies and development corporations like SM,” adds Ivan Labayne of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
More importantly, this plan only shows how far the greed of the big businesses has gone in order to serve their interests. Even at the expense of the interests and welfare of the majority, businesses like SM are unflinching and cannot be deterred in pursuit of greater financial profit. “In an attempt to appear “considerate” in public, SM even tries to fool us in saying that the trees will be earth balled and will be transferred in the hopes of silencing the protest,” adds Gaoat.
Worse, even the current administration sanctions this one-sided step and seems to refuse in protecting the interests of the larger population. President Aquino along with city officials themselves shows no disapproval of this plan and the DENR issued the permit for the implementation.
“This only shows at whose side the current administration is – it is on the side of the few elite businessmen and oligarchs and not the greater part of the population,” says Labayne.
With this, we intend to initiate and participate in all actions protecting against this ruthless assault to the environment and the welfare of the people. All at once, this is a fight for saving our environment, a fight against the big businesses’ pursuit of profit at our expense and a call to collectively assert our demands and interests.
Rae Gaoat, Anakbayan Metro Baguio, 09152219877
Ivan Labayne, CEGP Baguio-Benguet, 09268105915