Church suspends Mass in Philippine mall over trees

April 15, 2012 - 10:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Talk about divine punishment.

The Roman Catholic Church in the northern Philippines has suspended Masses and blessings of shops and stalls inside a mall in Baguio city to protest a plan by the developer to uproot and remove nearly 200 trees from a popular urban forest. Masses are commonly held in Philippine malls.

A court last week issued a temporary order stopping SM malls, one of the country's biggest chains, from uprooting the trees in Baguio. But it is unclear how long the order will hold. The mall wants to build an underground parking lot and promises to replant the trees elsewhere.

The project has triggered protests. President Benigno Aquino III has ordered a review of the ongoing construction in Baguio, known as the city of pines.