MANILA, Philippines – SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) defended its earth-balling activities in Baguio City following the decision of British singer-songwriter Sting to distance himself from the SM name.
Sting was set to perform at the SM MOA Arena in Pasay City in December, but after having been informed of the earth-balling plan in SM Baguio through an online petition, the artist moved his concert to the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
SM, however, believes that Sting, a known environmentalist, may have been misinformed.
“SM Prime Holdings, Inc. regrets that there has been a lot of disinformation on its Baguio redevelopment plan, which apparently has reached Sting,” the firm said in a statement released on Saturday.
The company said the earth-balling activity, which aims to “address an urgent topsoil erosion problem,” will be done under close supervision by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and UP Los Baños forestry experts.
SM also explained that “DENR mandated that for the greater possibility of the survival of trees, earth-balling must be done at night to avail of the great volume of moisture, compared to the hot condition during the day.”
“These trees will be relocated, not cut, within the same SM Baguio private property, using heavy equipment and a lot of man-power,” the company said.
SM said it has also committed to plant an additional 50,000 trees in Baguio.
“The issue on the relocation of the trees within the privately owned SM Baguio property, is pending before a Baguio court, and SM is focused on defending its legal rights,” it added.
The management of SM MOA Arena, meanwhile, said that although the Arena and SM Baguio are sister companies, the concert venue had nothing to do with the development plan in Baguio.
"Somebody misled the Englishman In New York over the venue," Arena general manager Arnel Gonzales told AFP.
According to Sting’s official website, local promoter Ovation Productions has confirmed that the artist’s Back to Bass concert will now be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the same date (December 9).
It added that those who have already purchased tickets may exchange them for Smart Araneta tickets beginning October 25. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse