Killing Me Softly With Concrete

The Nashman is mad for a good reason. Eh paano ba naman itong kanyang beloved alma mater is going to entomb a tree which is very much alive.

Someone should remind the Reverend Fathers that “a tree looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray”. So they will prevent the tree from praying to God if they are going to entomb it. Ayyayay. More details on this bizarre story here.

UPDATE: Well, there are two sides to every story (many sides actually if you watched the movie Rashomon). Here’s the side of SLU on this tree controversy as clarified by Chyt’s informant. Thanks Chyt.

Uploaded from the comments section:

I was bothered by the story on the alleged “environment-unfriendly” move of SLU that I called up the university to inquire.

It was explained to me that the tree HAS TO BE removed. On the very same spot where it stands, SLU will erect a day-care center and a water tank for the use of the hospital. The SLU employees have long been clamoring for a day-care center where they can “deposit” their young ones while they are at work. Fr. Jess Hechanova, recognizing the employees’ plight, granted their wish.

The SLU hospital also needs a tank to augment its water supply. SLU says that the tree to be cut is already aged. That is not an excuse though, SLU tells me. The only reason that the tree must be removed is because SLU needs the space. It is a blessing that the tree is old.

SLU is a vanguard of the environment, my informant assures me. This summer, SLU planted more than 100 trees. My informant says that when SLU plants trees, it takes care of them to make sure they thrive.

So where does that leave us? Assuming that SLU really needs the space for the reason it claims, I cannot condemn it. The health of humans, who are on top of the food chain, is far more important than the life of one tree. The erection of a day-care center is a laudable endeavor. If the only way it can be achieved is to cut down one tree, then so be it.

Really, there are times when we are caught between the bull’s horns. I would like to revisit what John Stuart Mill said: The morality of an act is to be judged by its utility to the greater number for the greater good.

SLU, please plant more trees to replace that one you need to remove.

OUR TAKE: As we stated in the comments section it would be bad if the tree is cut (from an environmental perspective) but it would be understandable (because who of us would not cut a tree if we have to). We also said that it would be much simpler if SLU just cut the tree rather than build around it. It turns out, according to the update above, that the tree will be cut. That would be more acceptable that “entombing” a tree alive.

Well, authorities got to do what they got to do. But we echo Chyt’s wish that SLU will hopefully plant more trees to replace what it is cutting. Thanks again Chyt for the update.

PHOTO CREDIT: slupinetree.com.

16 thoughts on “Killing Me Softly With Concrete”

  1. Egads! That’s one of the more bizarre ways to circumvent a rule I’ve ever heard…AND priests thought of it?!

    ~Babot

  2. I am flabbergasted at the story. For one, SLU has always been consistent in its conservation crusade. Did you know it is a cigarette smoke-free zone? I am not defending SLU but I find it hard to believe that it would kill a pine tree in the manner described.

    SLU is currently constructing new buildings in Bakakeng which is its expansion area. It is inevitable that pine trees will be cut. SLU has a building permit. I am sure it also secured cutting tree-cutting permits. Or did it not? Why would the city government not allow it to cut down trees if necessary? Has this to do with the SLU-UB competition?

    Ideally, trees should be not cut. In private properties however, trees may be cut as long as the tree owners will get cutting permits.

    In watersheds, trees should NOT be cut. You cannot apply the same rules in residential or commercial areas. In the first place, why was the land classified residential if the government intended it to host trees forever?

    What we should focus on is Camp John Hay. Trees are cut left and right without cutting permits. Why does the city government not run after CJH?

  3. Hi Nashman,
    Ingat or else they will revoke your degree 🙂 Thanks.

    Hi Wil,
    Thankfully someone’s taken the lead. It’s interesting to see what will happen ano? Thanks.

    Hi Omom,
    It’s kind of weird no? Maybe it’s the contractors who thought of it but the school is managed by priests so they kind of get the blame because they have command responsibility. Thanks.

    Hi Anonymous,
    Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with the other facets of this story.

    But as I said in Nashman’s blog it would have been much simpler if they just cut the tree. It would be bad (from the point of view of environmental preservation) but it would be understandable (who of us did not cut a tree if we had to build something?).

    What I don’t quite understand is why SLU would go through the motions of preserving the tree when building around it (that’s how it looks to me anyway)would not be good for its survival.

    Yup those mindless cutting of trees in CJH is a scandal (and a tragedy). Thanks.

  4. I was bothered by the story on the alleged “environment-unfriendly” move of SLU that I called up the university to inquire.

    It was explained to me that the tree HAS TO BE removed. On the very same spot where it stands, SLU will erect a day-care center and a water tank for the use of the hospital. The SLU employees have long been clamoring for a day-care center where they can “deposit” their young ones while they are at work. Fr. Jess Hechanova, recognizing the employees’ plight, granted their wish. The SLU hospital also needs a tank to augment its water supply. SLU says that the tree to be cut is already aged. That is not an excuse though, SLU tells me. The only reason that the tree must be removed is because SLU needs the space. It is a blessing that the tree is old.

    SLU is a vanguard of the environment, my informant assures me. This summer, SLU planted more than 100 trees. My informant says that when SLU plants trees, it takes care of them to make sure they thrive.

    So where does that leave us? Assuming that SLU really needs the space for the reason it claims, I cannot condemn it. The health of humans, who are on top of the food chain, is far more important than the life of one tree.The erection of a day-care center is a laudable endeavor. If the only way it can be achieved is to cut down one tree, then so be it.

    Really, there are times when we are caught between the bull’s horns. I would like to revisit what John Stuart Mill said: The morality of an act is to be judged by its utility to the greater number for the greater good.

    SLU, please plant more trees to replace that one you need to remove.

  5. Hi Chyt,
    Wow. That was fast. I’ve uploaded your comment in the main post so others who don’t visit the comments section will read it. It’s always good to present the other side of the coin, and we wouldn’t have done that if you didn’t call SLU. Thanks 🙂

  6. Ok, so that’s SLU’s position. Why don’t they just get the necessary permits then? Why entomb the tree instead of just cutting it? Why is the mayor against cutting down the tree? I would call the mayor but international phone rates are currently high. hehe

  7. Maybe that’s the reason why I embraced the Anglican Doctrine on my father’s side.
    But if I hear Rex Church is involved in tree-cutting also, I’ll jumped back to catholicism, I was baptized at Baguio Cathedral anyway..hahaha…cheers…

  8. fyi anon: Even in Residential areas, you need a permit to cut down a big old healthy tree.

    It takes ages to replace the CO2 absorbing properties of a full grown tree. Cutting one down and planting 100 new ones tomorrow is not enough. SLU should have planted 100 four years ago, and should continue to plant more for the trees they are going to cut.

    I take a pragmatic approach. SLU will cut down this tree. As Manong Bill says, its the subterfuge involved that is annoying. SLU is going through the motions to show it is letting this tree live when in reality it will just let it rot standing up.

    cheers,
    nash

    (PS. Hay naku Lakay Bill, lumakayak metten, uray i-revoke da ti degree’k haanen masyado importante. Et’s ben 9 years since my graduation, after that period, your degree becams irrelevant as yu are supposed to have gained life skills kuma.)

  9. Hi Wil,
    I’ve no idea kung anong sagot ng inyong questions hehe. I think you can call him through the internet. Or punta ka sa blog niya para maging blog-friends kayo, pero unfortunately I can’t find the links but they are somewhere in this blog. Thanks 🙂

    Hi Trublue,
    Hmmm, I’m not sure kung ano ang environmental record ng ating simbahan. Although it tends to be a green minded church 🙂

    Hi u.t.o.y,
    Thanks for dropping by. I like your blog 🙂

    Hi Nashman,
    Yup, that’s true. Degrees tend to be irrelevant as one ages hehe. Iba nga walang degree eh, like Bill Gates. Thanks.

  10. I looked for da mayor’s (as TruBlue would say… hehe) email address on the baguio.gov.ph website, but couldn’t find it. i emailed the webmaster instead and asked him to forward my questions regarding da tree controversy. hehe.

  11. Hi Wil,
    Hehe, good luck. I did that regarding the barrio fiesta thingy and never got a response. But maybe because at that time the website was still on beta. Maybe they worked things out already. Thanks again.

  12. We call it Baguio Pine Tree…Exactly, what is the scientific name or other names of Baguio Pine Tree?

  13. Based on this link, the common name appears to be Benguet pine and the scientific name is Pinus insularis or Pinus kesiya. It is also listed as Khasi Pine in wikipedia.

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