BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Contrary to what SM Management claims as ‘earth balling’ for the expansion plan of their mall here, an environmental group has uncovered a sinister plan by the mall giant to “shortchange” the residents of the summer capital of the Philippines.
Environmental protection group Samahang Mahal na Mahal ang Puno (SMPuno) has uncovered what they alleged as a huge cover-up that is being undertaken by SM. SMPuno founder Mathias Dela Peña revealed that SM’s earth balling, the process of transferring the trees elsewhere, is only half true. “Indeed, they are transferring the tress elsewhere. You know where? To a factory in La Union! There, the trees will undergo a ‘balling’ process, or in Tagalog, pambobola” said Dela Peña.
According to him, the process is broken down into 4 distinct phases , to which he described each in detail below:
- Reduction – each tree will be reduced to about 1/3rd of its original size.
- Duplication – the by-products and shaving of the Reduction phase would then be used to make 2 to 3 more ‘clone’ trees of lesser size.
- Rebranding – the finished products will bear the ‘SM BONUS’ markings and logo, either attached to a tag, or carved on the tree itself.
- Replanting – as promised, SM City Baguio will replant the ‘original’ trees, in addition to the ‘new’ trees produced in phase 2. Bonus indeed.
Concerned residents of Baguio City alleged the SM Group has continued diggings for an expansion of its mall there despite a restraining order from a court.
In a text message, Save 182 Movement convener Karlo Marko Altomonte said, “They refused to receive the order from the court and diggings are still ongoing.”
ABS-CBNnews.com is still waiting for a comment from the Sy-led firm. SM spokesman Dennis Navarro earlier said, however, that the company has yet to receive the court’s directive. (from ABS-CBN News)
SM City Baguio has repeatedly reiterated that they are doing the best that they can to make the expansion a “truly green mall”. When finished, the mall would have various features that will make it as much environmentally friendly as possible. It said that they have even partnered with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to make sure that the building will be cost-efficient and energy saving.
Besides the earth balling of the trees, SM said it will be planting over 50,000 trees as part of its commitment to Baguio’s re-greening program.
Among others, the expanded mall will also have 1,000 underground parking spaces. “By locating these spaces underground, the expansion’s impact on wooded surroundings will be reduced, as will undesirable “heat island effects’ often encountered in large shopping centers. Park finders using LED have been incorporated in its design for customers to easily locate parking spaces, thereby lessening fuel consumption.” (from ABS-CBN News)
Besides the above measures, the mall will also feature additional “green” amenities such as a roof garden, which will be landscaped with native and non-invasive trees and plants intermingled with numerous water features. To make it even more “green”, the interior and exterior of the mall will incorporate a ‘radical’ change with regards to its color motif.
“The look that we are aiming for is unlike anything that you have ever seen in any of our malls,” said Architect Rowell Carlos, the lead interior designer for the expansion project. “You’ll feel like being inside a pea when you visit us after we’re done with this.”
Architect Carlos was kind enough to provide us with an artist’s rendition of what a ‘Green’ SM that they have envisioned. If successful, they will use this design as well for their next mall project, the SM La Mesa or what SM insiders refer to at SM Mesamall.