Green party hails Sting for his principled stand on SM tree-cutting

ENVIRONMENTAL political party Kalikasan Party-list commended international music artist Sting for choosing to move the venue of his Back to Bass concert tour from SM Mall of Asia (SM MoA) to Smar-Araneta Coliseum. Kalikasan hailed the move as a simple but important victory for the various supporters of the campaign against SM’s attempted tree-balling of 182 Pine and Japanese Alder trees as collateral of their redevelopment project.

“Sting is renowned for his activism on human rights and the environment, and it is this very principle that led to his decision to pull out the concert from SM MoA. That a multi-awarded musician listened to the calls of the country’s concerned citizens is a testament to what we can collectively do for our environment,” said Frances Quimpo, secretary general of Kalikasan Party-list.

In 2000, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award for their commitment to the environment through the establishment of the Rainforest Foundation Fund to help save rainforests and protect the rights of its resident indigenous residents. He has been widely recognized for his environmental advocacies.

“Sting’s move has put the issue of deforestation in the Philippines into the international spotlight. We hope this would result in greater awareness and action not only from our fellow countrymen, but from the wider international public as well. As we speak, more critical green urban areas such as the Callejon-Makabayan urban forest, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center and the Manila Seedling Bank are threatened by aggressive development,” said Quimpo.

SM MoA claimed that it has nothing to do with the tree-balling activities of SM Baguio City, claiming that their only relationship was being under the same mother company, SM Prime Holdings.

“The SM brand cannot be disassociated from environmental crime and human rights violations, much as SM MoA would want to do so. The brand carries a history of violently cracking down on its trade unions and protest actions conducted in their venues. Let us also recall the attempted demolition of the Silverio Compound where at least 25,000 urban poor families would be displaced because of SM Development Corporation’s plans to build condominiums on top of it,” Quimpo pointed out.

“The SM group is also eyeing a stake in the Tampakan Gold-Copper Project in South Cotabato. This project poses impending environmental destruction and geological risks to nearby communities and ecosystems. Recently, the massacre of the Capions, a B’laan family, was seen as motivated by a military crackdown on the opposition to the project owned by Xstrata-SMI. It is only logical then for Sting to refuse any association with SM for their involvements,” ended Quimpo.


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