By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Over three hundred church people, professionals, youth and non government organizations joined the prayer rally calling on a giant mall in the city not to push through with its plan to cut and earth ball pine trees at Luneta Hill to give in to its parking building.The prayer rally dubbed as the Passion of Baguio was conducted in three stations.
Bishop Carlito Cenzon opened the prayer rally at People’s Park. He said the strongest ally the people of Baguio have against corporate greed is God. He explained that the activity aims to ask the Lord to touch the hearts and clear the minds of the owners of the mall.
“If we are facing an enemy stronger than us, whom do we ask help from? but our God,” Cenzon said.
Micheal Bengwayan of the Save the 182 group explained the important contributions of trees in sustaining life and maintaining balance in the world’s ecosystem. He further explained that earth balling of age old trees would kill them just the same.
Should the trees get cut, the Bishop said in an interview, that the mall should pay P25 million for every earth balled tree that will not survive. He added that the people of Baguio are not ignorant they know that earth balling will not really save the trees.
Moreover, he said that should the mall refuse to heed the call of Baguio residents, they will organize a boycott. “We will tell our friends to boycott SM,” he reiterated.
After blessing and honoring the trees with incense, Cenzon led the flock to Igorot Park. In this second station, the history of the resistance of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera against corporate greed was told in a theatrical presentation. Their role in protecting and preserving the environment was recognized before the prayer continued.
The presentation highlighted that from the invasion of the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese and until today, the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera have not stopped resisting corporate greed. It also echoed their resounding and continuing opposition to corporate and government projects and ventures that are detrimental to their ancestral territories and the environment.
The activity ended with a mass at the third station at Melvin Jones grandstand. The ecumenical mass celebration was officiated by father Andy Cosalan. After the mass the Save the 182 led a protest action at the Post Office Loop facing the entrance of the giant mall. # nordis.net