MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Sting is no longer performing at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena after the British singer-songwriter was urged to distance his name from a supposed "[rapist] of the environment."
A known environmentalist, Sting was set to perform at the Pasay City venue on December 9 for his Back to Bass Tour. However, having learned of "SM" and its connection to the "earth-balling" controversy in Baguio City in April this year, the singer-activist opted to cancel his concert at the SM MOA Arena.
In an official statement, MOA Arena said it "has exhausted all measures for the show to push through."
"The SM MOA Arena has nothing to do with the case in Baguio except for the fact that it is also under the same holding company as the Baguio branch," it said.
In April, news of SM Baguio's planned relocation of 182 trees for its expansion sparked outrage among environmentalist groups. Some of the protests at the site even turned ugly amid alleged misinformation as to the actual process for the relocation.
A petition online then called on Sting to cut any ties with the SM name, as it meant "enabling [the group of companies] to rape the environment at the same time."
The petition -- created by a member of Project Save 182, which was formed in response to the "earth-balling" incident -- was brought to the attention of Sting's management by the environmentalist group's former legal counsel Cheryl Yangot.
In her letter to Sting's camp, as quoted by Yahoo! PH, Yangot reminded the British musician of his being "the voice of the marginalized and disadvantaged."
"And now, in behalf of the disadvantaged, we ask him to do something for them again. [...] If you really want to define civilization it should be a culture that doesn't destroy its environment," Yangot said.
"Your words become empty if you perform in SM-MOA, Mr. Sting," she added.
In a message posted Friday on her account on social networking site Facebook, Yangot said "efforts worked," referring to her communication with Sting's management.
"In the end, Sting listened to the voice of the oppressed. He did it in regard to his concert in Kyrgyztan before. Let us support Sting always," she said.
According to Sting’s official website, local promoter Ovation Productions has confirmed that the artist’s Back to Bass concert will now be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“There is no change to the show date, which remains Sunday, December 9th, 2012,” the site said.
It added that those who have already purchased tickets may exchange them for the Smart Araneta venue beginning October 25.