BY VOLTAIRE TUPAZ, RAPPLER.com
April 12, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – Barely a day before the 3-day temporary environmental protection order was set to expire, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) finally complied with the court order stopping the “cutting, earth-balling and uprooting of trees from the ground” at SM Baguio.
“I already issued an order to our regional officials in Baguio City to comply with the order of Judge Villacorta. As we talk, our DENR-CAR [Cordillera Autonomous Region] must have already served its directive enjoining the management of SM Baguio to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the TEPO [Temporary Enviromental Protection Order],” Environment Secretary Ramon JP Paje said in a statement.
Paje said he directed DENR-CAR Executive Director Clarence L Baguilat to comply with the TEPO as it is in accordance with the rules of procedure on environmental cases introduced by the Supreme Court.
The DENR reported that 40 Alnus and one Benguet pine tree on Luneta Hill had already been cut or earth-balled. A total of 182 trees on the site will be cut or earth-balled to give way to a proposed SM Baguio parking facility and entertainment building.
The environment secretary — together with Director Juan Miguel T Cuna of the Environmental Management Bureau, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, and SM Investments Corp (SMIC) — is a respondent of a complaint that asked the environmental court for an injunction with prayer for TEPO.
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