MANILA, Philippines—The country’s largest mall developer SM Prime Holdings said on Saturday it was regretful that “a lot of disinformation” surrounding its Baguio mall redevelopment plan had reached Sting, who demanded that his one -night show in the Philippines be moved from SM’s Mall of Asia to another venue.
“For the record, SM Baguio City plans to redevelop its facilities in order to address an urgent topsoil erosion problem covering its private property to protect the integrity of its Baguio mall,” SMPH said in statement.
“In the process of the planned rip-rapping of the sloping area at the back of the mall, 182 trees will be scientifically earth-balled under close supervision by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and UP Los Baños forestry experts,” it said.
Rip-rapping is a world-wide practice in sloping and mountainous areas, such as Baguio and Tagaytay, to prevent landslides and erosion. This practice was noted to be prevalent in Switzerland and other European countries, Hong Kong and the United States.
SMPH also disputed “inaccurate” online reports that it was cutting trees in Baguio under the cover of darkness.
“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 manpower,” it said.
As approved by DENR and other supervising agencies, SMPHI said it had also committed to plant additional 50,000 trees in DENR- designated areas in Baguio.
“The redevelopment plan has complied with all applicable laws and obtained all the necessary government permits, including the DENR and Baguio government,” the statement said.
“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,” the statement said.
The transfer of Sting’s concert venue was reportedly spurred by a letter sent by Cheryl Daytec-Yangot, a former lawyer of environmental group Project Save 182, appealing that Sting abandon the SM-Mall of Asia Arena as the venue for his December concert. “Sting, a voice of the oppressed, cannot sing in the halls of an oppressor!” she said.