SM hearing set March 15-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, March 1, 2012
DEVELOPMENT plans of SM Baguio will be further delayed after the court suspended the hearing of a civil case for injunction leading to a Temporary Environment Protection Order case against the mall.
Regional Trial Court Branch 5 Judge Antonio Estevez suspended the hearing for the case on March 15 after hearing the side of the opposition and the proponents of the mall expansion project which will allegedly endanger 183 pine and alnus trees.
Named respondents in the case are Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Lawyer Juan Miguel Cuna of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, SM Investments Corporation and Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.
Complainants presented their concerns on the effects of earth-balling of trees on the natural heritage of the area, effects on the water table of the city and carbon sequestration if the trees are relocated.
Lawyer Cheryl Daytec–Yañgot, the lead counsel of the more than 100 complainants, claimed the basis of their actions include provisions of the Constitution and other international treaties to which the country is a signatory.
SM, meanwhile, reiterated it was given permits after complying with the requirements of the DENR and City Building and Architecture Office.
It also asserted its right to the land which was sold to the company by the National Government in a public bidding way back in 1992.
The mall management also committed not to conduct any earth-balling or development activities in their Luneta Hill property on or before March 15.
Daytec-Yañgot said they are focusing on the case as an environmental case and not as a land ownership case.
She stressed the stand of the Save 182 movement is always on the environmental issue and not on land ownership as their crusade she said is focused on whether it is a private or public land.
“We really don’t care if they own the land or not, our position is that no trees will be cut,” she said.
Daytec-Yañgot is joined by lawyers Christopher Donaal, Jansen Nacar, Jado Rafael Bongnadon, Christian Sia and Maria Cristina Yambot.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 01, 2012.