122 300x199 SM Started The Unthinkable at the Expense of the TreesA few hours ago, we shed tears…

After receiving a message that trees were already being cut by SM Employees, we immediately proceeded to SM, it was 12′oclock midnight. When we arrived, a group of young and old were already there trying to talk to the “tree cutters”. From a distance we could hear the sound of numerous “popping” hammers. The entire balcony of SM Baguio was covered with big ply woods. Luneta Hill was also surrounded with big GI Sheets, Ply woods and plastic covers. The SM Guards were armed and kept flashing their flashlights to the protesters.

By 1:00am, we heard heavy machines. There was an excavation going on in front of University of the Cordilleras (UC). The group ran in front of UC and started shouting and begging for the operators of the machines to stop. But nobody listened.Then suddenly, around 20 – 30 SM employees came down the hill and went to the area where Alnus Trees were planted. It was near the front area of COMELEC. When the branches of the  Alnus trees started to shake, we knew that was it. The group ran again near the tree cutters and begged and begged and begged but to no avail. When the first Alnus tree fell… we cried. I saw tough young people cry. Some just sat down and started sobbing, some stayed tough but their tears were running down. It was a sorrowful early morning.

210 300x199 SM Started The Unthinkable at the Expense of the TreesAfter the first tree went down, it was followed by another…then another… The protesters shouted and begged. They “banged” the GI sheets to create noise but no one threw stones. After a few minutes, the police came. They talked to the protesters. I saw some of the youth leaders crying in front of them, explaining what they are doing.  With the blessings of the Angels, it seemed that the  Police understood them for the time being.

What is very ironic is the timing of the “drainage project” along Gov. Pack Rd. (the road leading to COMELEC and UC). The entire road was closed to traffic. The buses were relocated at the BaguioConvention Center. This move was simultaneous with the massive fencing of the Luneta Hill. People are already speculating that there was indeed a “sweetheart deal” between SM and the CityGovernment.

This issue may end the political careers of some politicians and will leave their names tarnished forever. Unless they do some “pogi points” now to help save the trees. The people of Baguio City will never forget.

Remember, this generation is the “empowered” generation. Information is free flowing and “Gift Certificates” can not be hidden forever.

To the residents of Baguio City… WAKE UP! Your trees are being killed in your own backyard!

 

Cross-posted from Watwatworld.com

Dean Cuanso is a local blogger born and raised in Baguio City. He grew up exploring the nature and wonders of the forests. You can get more updates from him via his own blog, Watwatworld.com