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Philippines' SM Malls Halts Construction After Court Issues Environmental Protection Order

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court has halted extension work on a mall amid a public outcry over plans to cut down nearly 200 trees in a popular urban forest.

The court in northern Baguio on Tuesday issued a temporary environmental protection order stopping SM malls, one of the country's biggest chains, from uprooting the trees in downtown Baguio, known as the city of pines and the Philippines' summer capital.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. had previously secured permission to expand the existing mall and promised to replant the towering Alnus trees in another location to make room for a new multilevel development.

Environmentalists objected and took to the site at midnight when workers began clearing the land. They have also started online petitions against the tree cutting.

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