SC issues TRO vs cutting of trees in SM Baguio

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2015 05:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2015 02:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order to halt the cutting and balling of trees on Luneta Hill, where SM Baguio is located.

The order stems from a petition filed by a group called Cordillera Global Network, opposing the uprooting of trees.

The court also ordered Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and other respondents to comment on the petition within 10 days.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the TRO is effective immediately and until further orders from the Court.

SM Baguio has been under fire from residents and netizens for uprooting 60 trees in Luneta Hill last January.

The trees were uprooted to pave the way for the 7-storey Sky Park project, which SM claims to be environment-friendly.

Back in 2012, an environmental group foiled SM's plan to earthball and cut 182 trees in Session Road's remaining green zone.

A temporary environmental protection order was later issued, but the Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling, effectively lifting it.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., meanwhile, said it has yet to receive a copy of SC order, but noting that it will comply with the court order.

“SM Prime Holdings Inc. has yet to receive a copy of the Order from the Supreme Court as reported in the news. Rest assured that SM will comply with the directive of the Supreme Court,” the firm said in a statement.