I am the last person to defend SM, and I do think we’ve got enough malls and condos in this country. But one of the first things I asked when the petition to save the Philam Life Theater began to gain ground was: why?
And no, not why did SMDC buy the Philam Life property, but why was this property sold at all?
Yet that doesn’t seem to be a question that many people are asking. Instead we are asking questions about why SMDC needs to build more condos, why it needs to build more malls. Instead we throw expletives at Henry Sy and his empire, and say he is greedy and nothing else, forgetting that while the latter might be true, what drives this greed is the fact that they can afford it. And that the government allows it.
This is not to say it’s right, as it is to ask: who allows oligarchs to buy this country’s lands and services? Why is it even acceptable that basic services are owned by one, two, three families? Whose fault is it that our oldest structures, the ones that are monuments to our past, are being sold, one after the other? Why is the only other option for these structures, neglect and forgetting?
And who is blameless in this oft repeated enterprise of a piece of heritage being lost to time or capitalists, and us all raising our fists too late?