Rediscovering Baguio City – The Issue
I am sure you know the latest issue regarding Baguio City, if not then let me just give you an overview. The largest Mall in Baguio City and the largest conglomerate in the Philippines is planning on building a parking lot in an adjacent lot within their property. However, along with this development stemmed the need to cut or earthball around 182 of both alnus and pine trees. Baguio residents led by environmentalist groups opposed the earthballing and cutting of trees because of the fact that the number of trees in Baguio City is already diminishing. Although the Mall Management insisted that the trees will be earthballed and transferred to another location environmentalists have contended that the earthballing of trees will not guarantee its survival especially when done improperly.
Arrogance in Baguio City?
What is unfortunate is the fact that pending hearings from the city council and despite the advise of the Mall’s own lawyer (as stated in a TV interview) that no actions should be done while the issues are still in court and in the city council of Baguio, the Mall proceeded to earthballing the trees and was done during the night time (as allegedly recommended by DENR). Environmentalists were furious because of these actions by the Mall, instead of being hostile the Environmentalists have filed a Temporary Environmental Protection Order or TEPO in order to stop the earthballing of trees.
Upon serving the TEPO another thing that made people furious was the fact that the Mall did not receive the TEPO from the court’s sheriff and instead asked that the TEPO should be sent to their office in Manila, however the Mall did accept the TEPO after sometime (makes us ask why did they not accept the TEPO immediately in the first place?).
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the City of Baguio faced the cutting or earthballing of its precious pine trees. There were several developments that were done within the city and unfortunately we haven’t heard any uproar. Is the Mall the only culprit in the demise of the City’s pine trees? Or is it the only one carrying all the burden of blame from the diminishing number of pine trees? If we do really care about Baguio’s Pine Trees (an we should) then we have to be consistent, if we really call ourselves eco-warriors then we do not have to only join the protests but must also do our part, ask yourself this Â how many trees have I planted lately? We can rant all we want, blame the government, blame the rich, blame the developers, shout to high heavens that we are protesting for the future of our children, if indeed we are investing for the future of our children how many trees have you planted?
Â What are our Motives?
Consistency is also important, it pains me to see that there are personalities that are present in protests at the most convenient time especially that the 2013 election is near, i really pray that everybody’s intention is pure and are not only using the issue to further their political career, which means after all the dust has settled on this issue everybody should continue on doing their part to save the environment. In which case we do not have to only focus on the cutting of pine trees but also the problem in Solid waste management, i hope we still have not forgotten the trash slide in the Irisan Dumpsite. We have to be consistent if we want to be real eco-warriors so again lets ask ourselves when was the last time we picked up trash scattered on the streets? When was the last time did we actually recycled, reused or reduced wastes?
I think it is high time for us to really look at ourselves and start examining ourselves and determine if we really are practicing what we preach. We should not stop with the Mall issue rather it should be a wake up call for us to do something in order to preserve our beloved City of Baguio, for we will not be called the City of Pines if we do not have any Pine Trees, further we could not be called the Cleanest and Greenest City if every area in our City is swamped with trash, and finally we could not call ourselves the Character City if we do not exemplify the different Virtues befitting a true Baguio Resident.
Conclusion on Baguio City Issue
To Conclude i would just want to pose a question for all of us to ponder upon: “When did we forsake ourselves to save our future?”