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Philippines court stops mall construction in favor of trees

April 11, 2012

SM Prime Holdings a major company behind many malls across the Philippines was ordered to halt work on an expansion project in Baguio earlier this week. The Associated Press reports the construction would have required the removal of nearly 200 Alnus trees in an urban forest near the mall.

Before SM began the project, they obtained permission to uproot the trees to make way for the mall expansion, but environmentalists got wind of the plans and began protesting and circulating online petitions to save the towering Alnus. Their hard work paid off as Judge Cleto Villacorta issued a temporary environmental protection order to stop the trees from being excavated, according to Rappler.com. Only about seven trees had been removed by the time the 72-hour order was decreed.

"SM reiterates its concern for the environment and that the building expansion shall be sustaining the environment, not only the trees, but the other environmental aspects such as air quality and energy efficiency," the company said, according to the publication.

When the company pursued approval for the project, they promised to replant the trees in a different location, in addition to planting new trees.

Those who want to find out more about this story as it unfolds can make calls to the Philippines with phone cards and ask their friends for updates.

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