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Henry Sy Ought to Have the Right to ‘Massacre’ those Trees, Hippies!

April 16, 2012

The richest man in the Philippines, retailer and shopping mall operator Henry Sy, continues to draw flak over the alleged

Henry Sy: Under fire for exercising his property rights...

Henry Sy: Under fire for exercising his property rights...

‘massacre’ of close to 200 trees in the middle of the night in Baguio City, the country’s Summer Capital. As usual, many deluded leftists and environmentalists passionately criticized the billionaire whose business ironically supports the infamous Earth Hour idiocy won again this year by North Korea, and other environmentalist causes. It’s very ironic that the man who champions ‘environmentalism’ is being strongly denounced by many environmentalist and leftist groups.

As a result, the environmentalist hippies and leftists launched an attack dubbed “Occupy SM” to protest the cutting of trees at Luneta Hill to pave the way for SM Baguio’s new parking facility and entertainment complex. The environmentalist rally was held in SM Megamall with protesters wearing shirts with various messages such as “Leave me alone, I’m pine” and “Cut your greed not the trees.”

Environmentalist and statist critics also resorted to legal arguments, claiming SM Baguio defied a court order temporarily halting the cutting down of around 200 trees for its expansion project.  It was shown that a memorandum dated October 17, 2011 granted the DENR regional office in the Cordillera Administrative Region a clearance to issue a tree-cutting and earth-balling permit in favor of SM Baguio. Under this government directive and regulation, the State can now dictate to property owners things that they can do or cannot do with their own property. This means that the government is, in effect, a part-owner of every privately owned land property. This is an example of fascistic preventive law that considers certain human actions potentially immoral, harmful, or injurious.

Most, if not all leftists and environmentalists, have this utterly flawed sense of entitlement and collectivist mindset. The concept of property rights conveys to the property owner a “right of action” (e.g., to sell, to enjoy, to lease, to improve, or even to destroy). A law or government directive that limits your right of action over your real or land property is a negation of property right. That is, it is a negation of your individual freedom. Any law or directive that prohibits you to cut down trees on your property is based on the collectivist notion that the State must protect the environment from man’s unbridled greed or actions. It is this notion that gives these environmentalists a false sense of entitlement. Dito sila nagiging epal.

We are part of the HUMAN ENVIRONMENT, not of the animal or jungle environment. As humans, we must make our environment habitable, conducive to our needs, safe, or even comfortable. We need to cut down trees to serve our human needs for shelter, housing, food, etc. We need to cut down trees to create a liveable human environment. We’re not animals. We’re humans. Henry Sy and others like him should be proud for sharing with us their vision. If you call that ‘corporate greed’, fine! But remember that it’s this ‘corporate greed’ that helped provide thousands of jobs (through Henry Sy’s personal investment itself and through his concessionaires and investors). As long as his ‘corporate greed’ is not hurting, injuring other people’s right, it should be praised and commended. Besides, it’s the government that must be regulated, not Henry Sy’s or any person’s or entity’s so-called corporate greed!

Their "greed" is good. Without it you wouldn't be able to FREELOAD on SM shopping centers...

Their "greed" is good. Without it you wouldn't be able to FREELOAD on SM shopping centers...

Now let’s try to resolve the utterly ridiculous charge or paranoia that a property owner’s irresponsible decisions and actions could endanger the ‘environment’, including communities.

Don’t forget that we have:

  1. Rule of law that would punish the property owner like Henry Sy for causing any kind of injury to others. If, for example, his cutting down of trees caused (I mean the real, objective cause) any man-made disaster (e.g., landslide that killed or injured people), it is the function of the State to investigate the incident and punish the guilty.
  2. Personal responsibility. We have first, personal responsibility to ourselves… then to others. This personal responsibility is motivated by RATIONAL SELF-INTEREST.
  3. Rational self-interest, which is supposed or ought to be LONG-TERM and in accordance with the facts of reality. This self-interest ought to be based on reality (on how you see and judge the FACTS of reality), NOT on your feelings or consciousness. For instance, you as a property owner ‘feel’ that it is in your self-interest to cut down all trees on your hilly land property so to make profits without considering certain facts of reality (that your action/decision could lead to landslide or any kind of land disaster). Such an action, in the long run, could prove to be SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, not self-interested. A truly self-interested land owner should gauge, consider the facts of reality and ought to think LONG-TERM, not short-term.
  4. An individual’s rights to do whatever he wants to do so long as his action won’t injure or violate the rights of others. This includes property rights. A ‘right’ (meaning: a right of action in a social context) is essentially part of our human nature, as man has consciousness and reason to know his personal responsibility as well as actions that constitute rational, long-term self-interest. It is NOT in your self-interest to short-change, injure, or kill others. That is, it is not in your self-interest to violate others’ rights. Thus, if Henry Sy’s cutting down of trees on his Baguio property were in contravention with the FACTS OF REALITY, then he would be PUNISHED by 1) our laws, and 2) economic reality. A man-made land disaster caused by Henry Sy’s action/decision could destroy his entire business empire. A single disastrous action could destroy his life’s investment.

So let Henry Sy cut down those trees! And please, stop supporting the nutty, lunatic causes of your ENEMIES!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Atroxxx permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:38

    “you wouldn’t be able to FREELOAD on SM shopping centers” – pray tell, how? free taste trials are only limited as far as i’ve noticed. & one more thing, don’t a lot of people go there to BUY in the first place?

    • April 16, 2012 3:38

      Some people go to Sy’s malls to buy. Some people just go there to hang out and to window-shop. I do window shopping when I have the time, and I thank Henry Sy for that. Sy is being criticised because he owns a big business and because he’s so succesful. He should be thanked and praised.

      • April 19, 2012 3:38

        yeah right… support him and let your future kids buy oxygen to breathe! it’s like your giving them funds to continue their wrong doings. yes, being entrepreneur is good and earning for living is necessary… but if you are doing it in a wrong process, what a shame…

      • April 19, 2012 3:38

        What the heck are you blabbing about? Don’t patronize SM malls if you don’t believe Sy has a right to his property.

  2. April 16, 2012 3:38

    They will go there once the expansion is finished. These people are hypocrites.

  3. trosp permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:38

    I want to call these people Environment Liberation Front.

  4. galdo12 permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:38

    Is Henry Sy an “oligarch”?

    • April 16, 2012 3:38

      I don’t know if he’s an “oligarch” by choice, or whether he actively supports protectionism in the Philippines just like the Lopez family did in the past. I don’t know the facts as I didn’t investigate this matter. But definitely he’s an oligarch-by-law or by-default. Like many ‘oligarchs’ in the country, Sy benefits from our protectionist constitution. Without protectionism, he would have faced tough competition from foreign competitors like Walmart, Target, Kmart, ShopKo, and many foreign department stores and mall operators. Unfortunately, many of our business tycoons either expressly or impliedly support the status quo. I’m not sure whether Sy expressly or impliedly supports our protectionist system. What I know is that he remains mum on this issue. I say, as a businessman, he should actively support free market system and the opening of our economy to foreign investors and strongly oppose regulations and protectionism. Because of his inaction and passivity, I can say that Henry Sy is guilty ‘morally’ for not doing the right thing and for not supporting the right cause.

      Isn’t so ironic that the protectionism being strongly supported and campaigned by the country’s mindless, clueless leftists, in truth and in reality, BENEFITS the OLIGARCHS (translation: the filthy rich, the politically connected, the fat bourgeois ala Mike Arroyo, and the real robber barons like Mike Defensor) whom these mindless, clueless leftists strongly detest and hate? Their protectionism actually benefits the kind of people who represent everything their leftist ideology considers evil, immoral, or non-proletarian.

      • galdo12 permalink
        April 17, 2012 3:38

        Are you saying that if one owns a big business in the Philippines(or a tycoon like Henry Sy), it follows that he is an “oligarch-by-default”?

        By the way, I think I should rephrase my question: “is Henry Sy a politically-connected businessman?”

      • April 18, 2012 3:38

        “Are you saying that if one owns a big business in the Philippines(or a tycoon like Henry Sy), it follows that he is an “oligarch-by-default”?”

        — I’d like to say I implied that. But the way I see it, big businesses benefit from our protectionist system. However, I’d like to see counter-arguments to this assumption. In the first place, this country is in breach of the principle of reciprocity in international law. Foreign countries allow foreign investors, businessmen and professionals, whereas we totally bar foreign professionals and limit and totally bar foreign investors’ equity in business and in land, respectively.

        “is Henry Sy a politically-connected businessman?”

        That I don’t know. To answer that question, we must know the facts. We must know how Sy became financially successful and how he maintains his business empire. I don’t know the facts behind Sy’s success. I don’t know whether like Lucio Tan, Henry Sy also used political connection to protect his empire.

      • April 18, 2012 3:38

        Also as to whether owners of businesses are, by default, “oligarchs”, I’d like to make the following observations.

        It would be unfair to automatically call all owners of businesses “oligarchs” or filthy rich because they simply benefit from our protectionist system, right? Whether they agree or disagree with our protectionism or not, the system is already there, unless their ancestors or they themselves supported it. In this case, they are morally guilty. The Lopez family is a good example.

        What, then, is the objective test or standard to be used in determining, judging whether a successful entrepreneur or investor is “guilty morally”?

        The following Ayn Rand’s statement is not an analogy, but rather a tool or guide which we could use to gauge whether a successful Filipino entrepreneur is guilty by default.

        In Philosophy: Who Needs It?, Ayn Rand wrote:

        Many students of Objectivism are troubled by a certain kind of moral dilemma confronting them in today’s society. We are frequently asked the questions: “Is it morally proper to accept scholarships, private or public?” and: “Is it morally proper for an advocate of capitalism to accept a government research grant or a government job?”

        I shall hasten to answer: “Yes”—then proceed to explain and qualify it. There are many confusions on these issues, created by the influence and implications of the altruist morality.

        There is nothing wrong in accepting private scholarships. The fact that a man has no claim on others (i.e., that it is not their moral duty to help him and that he cannot demand their help as his right) does not preclude or prohibit good will among men and does not make it immoral to offer or to accept voluntary, non-sacrificial assistance.

        A different principle and different considerations are involved in the case of public (i.e., governmental) scholarships. The right to accept them rests on the right of the victims to the property (or some part of it) which was taken from them by force.

        The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism. Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims.

        Definitely that is not an analogy; however, Ayn Rand’s eloquent, logical answer to the question could help us analyze whether a Filipino owner of big business is automatically an Oligarch or a ‘robber baron’.

        Ayn Rand said: “The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism.” But public scholarship is certainly not the same as the ‘beneficial protectionism’ that supports local businessmen. In the first place, ‘protectionism’ is NOT something that you pay to the government. It’s already there by bureaucratic fiat. Or in other words, we are NOT forced, coerced by the government to support, either financially or morally, our protectionist system.

        But the following statement somehow gives an answer: “Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims.”

        Borrowing the principle and premise of that statement, I say, those who advocate, support, either expressly or impliedly, our protectionism, OUGHT to have no right to it. Those who oppose protectionism, are NOT morally guilty.

        But is mere INACTION or PASSIVITY tantamount to support of protectionism? I say, the answer is YES. Every businessman or investor in this country must know how to protect his/her rights and trade. That is his/her primary duty to himself/herself. In reality, protectionism is NOT beneficial to REAL BUSINESS PEOPLE. Protectionism, in fact, regards our Filipino entrepreneurs as weak and inferior to foreign investors. Why do they need protection in the first place?

        I call your attention to principle of PRIMACY of REALITY/EXISTENCE over CONSCIOUSNESS.

        To weak, incompetent, corrupt business people who rely on government support, subsidy and connection, protectionism serve their self-interest. In reality, it does NOT. To strong, able, competent, good business people, protectionism is totally unnecessary. It is evil.

        Why did I say protectionism is, in the long run, a destructive form of government ‘support’? What is protectionism in the first place?

        Protectionism requires government intervention or regulation to be enforceable. Wikipedia offers an objective definition of this term: “Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow (according to proponents) “fair competition” between imports and goods and services produced domestically.”

        We all know that protectionism is what is now hurting our local economy and impoverishing our own people. Because of protectionism, there is artificially limited trade in this country that caused/causes joblessness, lesser investment, high prices of commodities, lack of business opportunities, poor services (electricity, products, water utilities, etc.), monopoly, etc. But how will it hurt our own local investors and businessmen?

        Protectionism is government or state power. If the system is already there, then the government would have more reason and leeway to impose more protectionist policies and regulations. Thus, the following are the direct, logical consequences of protectionism that could hurt or even destroy local businessmen, including the oligarchs who supported the system:

        1. Cronyism. When we speak of cronyism, we also speak of favoritism, and this favoritism is temporary. It depends upon who makes the law or who wields the political power. As deposed president Joseph Estrada once said, “weather, weather lang yan”. Some cronies largely benefited under Estrada’s short-lived term, yet a number of these protected cronies were purged or ignored during the long term of Gloria M. Arroyo. In fact, the Lopez family that strongly supported/support our protectionism, was economically hurt by Arroyo’s political wrath. This means that there is no balance or consistency in the country’s economic arena. If you support protectionism, you’re in effect turning the government into a battlefield of political largesse and support. If you’re not part of the country’s economic elite, the tendency is, you’d not succeed, especially when your economic success largely depends on political connection.

        2. Favoritism. I explained this in #1. If you’re not part of the country’s economic elite, you wouldn’t get more government support, subsidy or protection.

        3. More taxes. Ever heard of the Text Tax issue? I tackled this issue here… The politicians said, because our telcoms are now so successful, they must contribute more to the government. Of course, since our oligarchs benefit from our system, they must support the giver of protection, which is the government. The logic here is: since our protectionist system limits trade and foreign businesses, there are only few businesses that pay taxes to the government. And since the government has been spending more than it collects, naturally it has to levy more taxes, and because it cannot tax the people, it has to tax big businesses.

        4. More regulations. One proposed regulation: Antitrust law.

        5. More arbitrary government powers. One promposed law: RH bill.

        6. Statism.

        In other words, protectionism does not serve the self-interest of our local entrepreneurs. Instead, it expands government’s arbitrary political power and ups our degree of statism or dictatorship. This is the reason why every rational businessman must oppose, reject protectionism.

  5. vuvuzela_knight permalink
    April 17, 2012 3:38

    Excellent propaganda. Peace!

    • April 17, 2012 3:38

      And your Occupy SM is not a communist propaganda? What makes this piece a propaganda, vuvuzela?

    • Gadfly permalink
      April 17, 2012 3:38

      You forgot ‘man’.

  6. dixiechikydux permalink
    April 26, 2012 3:38

    I see that this issue has been over hyped by the environmentalist group. They say that its being “cut” when it’s being “earth balled”. Both are different practices. I’d like to share some info that I read in one priest’s article:

    “Poets do exaggerate. But poets need not overreact when poems “as lovely as a tree” are being “earth balled.” Obviously, the issue of SM City Baguio’s environmental “sin” has been stretched beyond poetic justice to overkill, leading to blatant injustice and unfairness to the SM conglomerate.

    The environmental “messiahs,” ill-equipped with misinformation rushed too early to the streets carrying banners depicting SM as environmental fiends? Amid chants of, “we cut it all for you” and “greedy” in full media spreadsheets and screens.

    The ranting caused misplaced bias and “rushed” judgments leading to the court issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo). Then surprisingly, there is the Catholic diocese of Baguio joining the fray by suspending the Eucharistic celebrations held regularly in the mall lobby as if SM is some sort of an ecclesiastical entity being slapped with church canonical sanctions.

    Then there is a glaring attempt to besmirch the reputation of SM — undeniably, the most productive business institution in the country today, a consistent traditional partner in the nation’s development.

    The ruckus even dragged no less than two national government officials to the summer capital to conduct an investigation, something that the regional government could have easily ironed out. But of course, SM is high profile and the media hype is always a publicity “op.” Predictably, the outputs gained in the investigation were basically the significant inputs of SM that were systematically ignored by the advocates, therefore pulling away from objectivity and truth in its totality.

    In the first place, there were no trees cut as experts from UP Los Baños Forestry attested. Then there is only one Benguet pine tree that was earth balled and the rest were Alnus trees. SM has complied well and in order being a member of the US Green Building Council, and whose expansion project is (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED registered. The regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has in fact issued a permit after all the requirements had been meticulously complied with and complimented with SM’s initiatives such as planting 60,000 trees in the vicinity in a span of three years and an environmental package that most probably no other ecological advocate or agency could afford or offer.

    SM in all these years of credible business has ingrained in its business culture a strict conformity with existing laws and sound business practice and stewardship. The institution has always made sure that all its transactions with government and non-government agencies are aboveboard and that its corporate social responsibility (CSR) does not run into conflict with its business orientation.

    Definitely, the social scene should be secured with the interventions of “checks and balances” through government regulation and advocacies. However, the “checks” should be balanced and fair. Belaboring the matter beyond sensibility and logic could cross the border of hypocrisy and self-righteousness where the demand for consistency and fairness would then be inevitable.

    For instance, for the sake of consistency, how in the first place were all these sprawling universities and towering places of worship and other mega-infrastructure in Baguio city built in the past when earth balling was high end technology and that uprooting or cutting or killing the pine trees was preferred. Were there opposing voices then? What happened to the panoramic cascading terrain of Baguio city dotted with beautiful pine trees now replaced with homes and clusters? City hall definitely granted the building permits!

    The DENR secretary himself admitted that there are requests from agencies such as the DPWH to cut some 1000 trees to give way to road development and similar requests were made by the DSWD and the DoE. Shall we expect the environmental advocates to storm the gates of the said agencies and demand a Tepo?

    Would Secretaries Ramon Paje and Jesse Robredo rush to the rebel protected “sanctuaries” of the southern forests to neutralize the unabated illegal logging with the same haste toward Baguio city to “save” some 182 trees in some privately owned lot? Yet thousands of trees are being cut without reforestation and the soil degenerated through kaingin in the said deep forests.

    Again, for fairness’ sake, what really hurts our ecological existence or at least threatens it? Will earth balling 182 trees do it? What really causes devastating floods and landslides, what really destroys the habitats of nature leading to the depletion of the ecosystems? What really?

    Advocacy is good and so is government regulation, but in all processes everyone deserves equity and fairness, including SM.”

    Be critical in thinking. It’s too much. It’s too OA.

  7. montrish permalink
    April 26, 2012 3:38

    Just because you see pictures of trucks and heavy machinery doesn’t make the project evil and scary. If hippies are so staunch in “tree-hugging” why did they voiced their concerns only now.

    SM is not set on this mission of destroying the environment, in fact it is the opposite. They are after the welfare of Baguio and its residences. This structure will address issues on parking spaces, create a water shed, create jobs and more importantly plant thousands of trees more. Which, over the years of people flocking to baguio, have never been done before.

    And FYI, no trees are/will be cut in this process! know your facts people. read more here

  8. December 10, 2015 3:38

    Ayala, as a developer, preserve the natural beauty of a site. Singapore is a first world country, developed and highly urbanized, but makes serious effort to preserve trees. Roads and structures are designed in such a way that existing trees and natural parks are preserved. The end never justifies the means. Our goverment, big corporations and every citizen have a moral obligation to protect and preserve our environment. Are we saying that the big malls are a much better legacy to our future generation?


  1. Henry Sy’s Property Right Versus the Protesting Environmentalist Hippies’ Alleged ‘Free Speech’ « THE VINCENTON POST
  2. Henry Sy, SM Malls, and the Lying Leftist Hippies! « THE VINCENTON POST
  3. Is Henry Sy an ‘Oligarch’? « THE VINCENTON POST

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