SM Mall Group is defending recent tree up-rootings in their SM City Baguio projects, saying its mall expansion project has been approved by local authorities.
Nearly 60 pine trees have been uprooted since early Saturday to give way to SM’s Sky Park project. The SM Group said it will feature ‘green’ facilities to help absorb the impact of climate change.
SM said it pushed through with the project after the Court of Appeals lifted the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) in December 2014.
“SM mall in Baguio has secured the final approval and necessary permits for this project from the pertinent agencies to handle this project. Prior to this, inputs from various community groups have been gathered and considered to help put this project together,” the firm said in a statement.
It also said the Sky Park “will feature green walls consisting of live plants will help improve air quality, making the mall both relaxing and enjoyable for the whole family.”
“It also consists of a sewerage treatment plant, and an underground rainwater catchment tank in the basement. The excess space of catchment tank will provide many additional parking space-will help de-congest traffic along Upper Session Road,” SM said.
The project faced protests from Baguio residents and other environmental groups, which resulted to a TEPO being issued by the Baguio Regional Trial Court in April 2012.