Development and the Pine Trees of Baguio City

The “Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje granted permission to SM Baguio to cut 172 trees in the mall’s property facing Governor Pack Road, paving the way for the mall’s expansion which will include a centralized parking and bus terminal in the area,” SunStar reports.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that “the trees that will be cut are not pine trees but other smaller trees, while the pine trees will all be earth-balled.” Mayor Domogan also said that the development will create more employment and enhance the tourism industry in Baguio City.

On the other hand, SM said that it “will be reballing, not cutting” trees. It also said that “it has been working closely with the Baguio City Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – and had received the necessary permits – to re-ball and relocate 142 trees in the shopping mall area.”

The SM City expansion plan has sparked protests. There’s an online petition with 4,833 signatures as of 19 January 2012. A group, which also threatened to boycott SM, claimed that “uprooted or earth-balled pine trees above 10 years old have a very low survival rate when transplanted as exemplified in previous earth-balling activities inside Camp John Hay”.

Some say progress is good and the pine trees, which will be replanted, would still be saved. Other say that the Baguio pine trees, or any trees for that matter, represents the environmental balance. Still others say that they go to Baguio City not to go to a mall, but to enjoy the unique features offered by Baguio, including the pine trees.

What do you think? Use the comment section below.


  1. The cold mountain breeze of baguio is one which attract tourist the most and the pine trees are responsible of such, hence, we need the pine trees, cutting or earthballing them in the name of development does not enhance tourism but instead diminish it.

  2. For all teh pretensions of SM to be the “good guys”, it’s just like any other capitalist, perhaps the more extreme ones, who would stop at nothing in the pursuit of its goals. THis is legitimate, nothing wrong from a capitalist perspective. If you love your trees, stop whining and push your advocacy. If you lose this battle, boohoo, do not vote for your lame mayor and sangguiang bayan members. If they don’t stand up for you, then blame yourselves. You Baguio residents voted for your greedy politicians. Plus you cannot stand up for your trees. Now you want us to sympathize with you? Boohoo.

  3. Development is good but not to the extent of compromising the safety and health of the people. I read here ( that a possible soil erosion daw might occur kaya isesemento yung ibang part ng SM Baguio and to prevent flood, SM is planning to build an underground water reservoir. But anyway, i’m still concern sa earth-balling ng trees, although SM promised to plant 300 pine tree saplings in exchange of every pine tree transfer, i hope tutukan nila para hindi mamatay mga trees. =(

    Good thing today magkakaroon na ng public hearing about this issue.

  4. Kamusta na daw yung public hearing? may balita na ba. Sana nagkaayos naman both sides? The planned development of Baguio is good naman, i believe main concern lang ng tao is yung trees, baka mamatay sa pag earth-ball.

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