"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Misleading: Footnote to STING'S SM-MOA (NON)CONCERT

"Somebody misled the Englishman in New York."

So claimed SM   in a public statement after the musician Sting’s announcement that he would be cancelling SM-Mall of Asia as the venue for  his December Philippine  concert. It went on to blame my letter to the  singer's camp for his  decision. Beyond ambiguity, I am  who SM was referring to as the “somebody who misled the Englishman in New York.”

My letter sent to and received by Sting's camp on 20 September said in part:
Sting is a well-loved musician among human rights advocates and believers all over the world including the Philippines. This is foremost because he speaks the voice of the marginalized and disadvantaged. A lot of times, it was because of him that stifled voices were amplified. This happened each time he exposed injustice, iniquity, and inequity in his songs. The world's oppressed classes owe Sting so much. And now, in behalf of the disadvantaged, we ask him to do something for them again.

There is an ongoing online petition asking Sting for a change of venue of his concert which also shows a video of the April spontaneous rally of thousands that surprised even us who made a public call for a mass indignation action... This petition was initiated by Project Save 182, the movement based in Baguio City, Philippines, which (the National Union of Peoples’ lawyers) is representing in court. Project Save 182 was born on January 20, 2012 when more than 5,000 people gathered to protest the planned expansion so soon after it was made known…SM and the government kept things under wraps. Public consultations as mandated by Philippine law and even international law were not conducted and the project does not bear the stamp of social acceptability. Since 20 January 2012, the people have not stopped protesting...
I am worried that the petition might not reach Sting which is why for the last few days, I have been looking for ways to reach him.  I hope I found the channel... (T)he people of a historical city of almost half a million people are fervently praying that something can be done. Please do something...

I stated  that  SM  already cut and will cut trees.  The corporate  giant labeled this  “misinformation”-  it is balling, not cutting, the trees. Project Save 182 has always been incredulous. After misinformation from  SM in the past (as when it led the public to believe   that its expansion plan bore LEED certification which  turned out to be a white tale, or  when its lawyer  said on TV that the expansion project would not start while the case was pending  which would turn out to be untrue ), concerned citizens are understandably skeptical of its statements. Other than  its self-serving assertion, SM has not shown evidence that it balled and not cut 40+ trees on Luneta Hill.  We were there during the two nights when SM was felling trees (and in one of those nights, we were armed with a court-issued temporary environmental protection order which SM refused to obey).  SM erected walls to obstruct the  view of what was happening within the expansion area but we  could hear the sound of trunks cracking and  falling to the ground.

At any rate, the issue is not whether SM will ball or cut the trees. Cut or balled, mature  trees will  perish  unless the balling procedure is done properly. For a  fully grown pine tree, slow death is certain from balling and even SM’s pine tree expert affirmed this in a published  article.  In fact,   cutting a fully grown tree is not as bad as balling it. A cut tree has value because it can be used for lumber or serve other human purposes; a balled tree will just rot away. The death of those mature pine trees that were balled and transplanted in Loakan by Camp John Hay Development Corporation remains vivid in our memory.  Project Save 182’s call is for the trees to remain where they are now. They should be neither cut nor balled. SM apparently wants the world  to believe  that as long as it will ball the pine trees, it does not destroy the environment.

SM says,  “With this successful move to stop Sting from holding the concert at SM MOA Arena, and referring to the venue as an 'oppressor', it is now looking more like the court battle has extended from saving trees, to ruining a corporate giant’s reputation completely."  SM’s reputation gets destroyed because of a claim that it is cutting trees? 

I do not think Sting decided against SM-MOA  merely because  182 trees would be cut. We have to credit the man- or any environmentalist worth his salt- with more sense than that. The cutting of a tree or trees does not ineluctably give rise to an environmental concern. Cut trees to serve human need, not to pamper greed. A thousand trees may be cut when it is  indispensable to fulfilling a   human necessity. But trees or   a single tree for that matter  should not  be removed from  an erosion-prone area sitting on earthquake faultlines  to pave the way for the erection of a 7-storey (or more) concrete building which includes a parking facility. Perhaps, the  property is yours, but your ownership right does not extend to using it in a manner that  you  expose to peril the lives and properties of others. In fact, to the right of property is attached social responsibility.

No one misled- and no one could mislead- the Englishman in New York.

Photo belongs to Pixel Offensive

Cheryl Chyt Daytec, is a Practising/Litigation Lawyer, Human rights advocate, Poet, Writer, and an Associate Professor at St. Louis University in Baguio City, Philippines. She is presently a member of the Board of Trustee of Cordillera Indigenous Peoples' Legal Center (DINTEG) rendering pro-bono services for the poor and the oppressed (marginalized women and children, informal settlers, IPs, laborers, HR victims, etc.).

Pedestrian Observer Group Blog
Click on the images to receive your free email updates
 POGB will not sell, exchange, use or allow any 3rd party access to your email for
any other purposes without exception, email exclusively for article updates only.
Follow Cheryl @ Facebook & NetworkedBlogs


0 Speak Out:

Related Posts with Thumbnails