Church now refuses to hold masses at SM Baguio

Posted at 04/15/2012 6:24 PM | Updated as of 04/16/2012 1:30 PM

SM: We regret that we have been misunderstood

MANILA, Philippines - The Baguio diocese will no longer celebrate masses at SM Baguio as a sign of protest over the earth-balling of 182 trees for the mall’s expansion.

Baguio-Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon confirmed the news to ABS-CBN News. The diocese said the holy mass is a sign of unity, which the Sy-led SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) has allegedly failed to promote.

In a letter addressed to Cenzon, SM Supermalls Inc. vice president Bien Mateo said: “We are deeply saddened by your decision and regret that we have been misunderstood despite the fact that all the necessary approvals had been secured and properly upheld by the duly authorized agencies of the local and national government. “

Mateo noted numerous consultative meetings have been conducted together with stakeholders.

“As we likewise submit to the teachings of the Catholic Church, we shall respectfully adhere to your instructions,” he said nonetheless.

Some groups rushed to the Luneta Hill in Baguio last Tuesday upon learning that workers have started the expansion project, which includes the earth-balling of trees.
Their requests were unheeded, forcing them to throw rocks at a makeshift fence.

They finally got a 72-hour TEPO on the same day. The TEPO seeks to stop SMIC from uprooting some 182 trees in Luneta Hill for the mall expansion.

The court later extended the effectivity of the TEPO. – with reports from Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com and Mae Cornes, ABS-CBN News Northern Luzon