BAGUIO CITY, April 18 – Environmentalists, militant groups, media and other sectors on Wednesday failed to find any cut trees at Luneta Hill here during an ocular inspection of the proposed expansion site of the biggest mall in this mountain resort.
Lawyer Sheryl Daytec Yangot, counsel of the protesters of the transferring of 181 trees in the area confirmed that all they saw were diggings, where 41 trees were "earth balled" for their transfer to another site.
The controversy of removing 181 trees at the private lot begun when local environmentalists hit the plan as it would further diminish the existing trees in this city.
The owner of the lot, however countered that the intended clearing, would give way to a seven-story building which would serve as a parking facility.
Besides, the prospective structure would further generate local employment to residents, which would not be less than 5,000.
The opposition did not stop rallies and even obtained a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) from a Baguio regional trial court.
The controversy only simmered down when the concerned protagonists met in Quezon City for a dialogue, whereby the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured that no cutting of trees would be done except earth balling.
With the absence of any tree cutting in the area and with the impending lapse of the period of the TEPO, the management of the site developer is hopeful for the resumption of the project. (PNA) RMA/AAG/AAGalacgac