The recent development in SM showed the true colors of this corporate giant. This greedy Corporation does not really care about Baguio sentiments. They came here to make money and that’s it.
I thought they had a change of heart willing to negotiate and consider the sentiments of the tree advocates. When I heard they approached some of the tree advocates willing to negotiate, I thought that was a good move and that they have a heart for Baguio after all. They were presenting a new plan where only few trees will be cut. It was a good plan that I believe many of the advocates would be willing to agree with. I guess that was just a wishful thinking. They never really intended to negotiate but a ploy to put off the advocacy.
These Corporate giants are as greedy as they come and in one night, SM cut 60 trees (according to them) even disregarding their earth-balling promise. Maybe there are more trees cut than what they revealed. Who would believe a lying corporation?
But why are these trees so important for Baguio people?
Part of the creation of Baguio was to rise from the ashes, ashes from the devastation of World War II most particularly caused by the American’s carpet bombing to drive out the Japanese army. Baguio was one of the most devastated Cities during World War II likened to Manila and Warsaw in Poland. And part of that rising from the ashes is to plant trees in historic and open spaces so that once again, the City will live up to its name as the City of Pines.
Luneta Hill became one of the favorite planting areas for visitors who want to add more trees to the remaining few left by the bombings. Many visiting celebrities and dignitaries have ceremonial tree planting there and many of those grown trees were the remaining symbols of the thousands planted by people who wanted to rebuild the City.
Those 182 trees were the remaining symbols and reminders of those who came with “noble intentions”. Those trees are not just woods; they are part of Baguio’s history and its struggle to remain a city of pines.
No matter how many trees SM City will plant, they can never equate to what those trees symbolize or represent. In fact, their very deed shows how their intentions are very much opposite of those who came ahead of them.
SM’s plan is to create a vacuum that will make the City suffer some more from traffic. Putting up a parking space will not solve the traffic situation in Baguio. It will just worsen it when all people will be bringing their cars to the City instead of leaving it home. It will create a vacuum increasing the volume of cars that will pass through the Central Business District.
SM is masquerading with the idea that they are here to help solve the City’s problems.
But how can they even help the City’s problems when they don’t even pay enough salaries to their workforce? How can we even trust a Corporation who cannot even follow the basic law in giving fair wages? Their intention is to earn and historic symbols and heritage are insignificant to them.
SM will always be a symbol of greed.
I wish an investigation should also be conducted on why the government would sell a public land to a private individual with no benefit whatsoever to the public in general except for the promise of jobs and more parking. Jobs that attracted more migration and parking area that has caused more traffic.