First things first. I am a Dabawenya. Hence, you know that I can be biased…and I am. I will not even try to deny it. No matter what people say, I think Davao City has gone a long way from being a mere “NicarAGDAO” (likened to Nicaragua…Agdao is one of the notorious areas in Davao where dead bodies would be found long ago…now it’s a busy commercial district) to being one of the most livable cities in the world and part of the reason why my beloved hometown is doing this well are the Dutertes.
Before I proceed, let me just say that this is not a political post. This will not be an in-depth analysis. This will not even cite the possible sanctions, the alleged violated laws etc etc. I will leave all of those to lawyers, analysts, political bloggers, columnists etc etc. Instead, this will be a simple post from a Dabawenya who merely grew up seeing the big changes around the city she loves. This will be a simple post from a person who has seen the big changes in her fellow Dabawenyos as well.
I believe that longtime Davao City Mayor (now Vice Mayor) Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte (Dabawenyos also called him “Digong”) has done a lot for Davao City. Dabawenyos, in turn, have also learned a lot from him and from his style of governance. Now, with the entry of his daughter, Atty. Sara Duterte – Carpio, into the political arena (she’s now the mayor and the very first lady mayor of Davao City, the largest city in the Philippines) I think that Davao will continue to be in good hands.
I mean, really, there must be a reason why Rody Duterte remained undefeated in Davao. There must also be a reason why Sara Duterte is now the very first lady mayor in Davao – RIGHT?
Plus let’s face it. Mayor Sara got 388,465 votes with a 228,240 vote margin against ex Speaker Prospero Nograles’ 160,225 votes. I think that says something.
I actually wrote about Mayor Inday Sara a few months ago. I caught her in the annual councilors’ league gathering and she effortlessly charmed her way through the councilors’ hearts. You can read that post here. Back then, she was as simple as simple can be. She described herself as “Bisdak” (Bisayang dako or certified Bisaya) and “bugay.” Fast forward July 1, 2011, Mayor Inday Sara is still the same – simple, “bugay,” “Bisdak.” This time, though, she showed another side of her to the rest of the Philippines. She showed how bad it could get if she lost her temper. Yes, she punched Davao Regional Trial Court sheriff Abe Andres during a demolition at (interestingly) Sitio Soliman, Barangay AGDAO. What she did may not be the most logical/ethical thing to do at the time but certainly you must agree — today, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte showed she had balls.
HOWEVER — I want to make this clear: I do not condone violence. I’m sure my fellow Dabawenyos also do not condone violence. Yes, granted that what our Mayor did was wrong. It’s never right to hurt somebody. However, let’s remember that Mayor Sara requested for a 2-hour reprieve (2-hour postponement) so that she could talk to her constituents. Since she was still helping the flash flood victims, she requested a little postponement. Seriously, what’s 2 hours? Those 2 hours could have saved people from getting hurt. Unfortunately, Andres still gave the go-signal for the demolition to push through. As a result, people got injured, including 1 policeman and some kids. So whose rights should we uphold now? The residents’ (who will soon be homeless, by the way) or the sheriff’s?
Two wrongs don’t make a right. That is true. However, we’re talking about people who will soon be homeless. We’re talking about a person who, if only he was gentleman enough to honor a request made by the mayor for humanitarian reasons, could have at least helped appease the situation. Was it too difficult for the sheriff to postpone the demolition for 2 hours? Fine, the sheriff may not be answerable to the mayor. Fine, the sheriff may only be answerable to the courts. But who is answerable to the people?
I think this should also be made clear. Davao Mayor Inday Sara Duterte merely asked for a 2-hour postponement. She DID NOT ask that the demolition be stopped. She merely needed time to talk to her constituents, in an effort to stop further violence.
To those out there especially non-Dabawenyos who believe that the mayor should have been “more professional” in dealing with the situation, please remember — there are a lot of dynamics when it comes to local politics. It’s difficult to explain. You must see it, hear it, experience it in order for you to really grasp it, understand it, appreciate it.
And oh, by the way, let’s not start with how the violent demolition operations have also been conducted in various urban areas around Manila. If you think what happened in Davao was already “violent,” then perhaps you want to check on what happened during the demolition operations in North Triangle, Quezon City as well as in Corazon de Jesus, San Juan. Read up on those and then get back to me.
As for the mayor’s statement that she does not answer to the people outside of Davao or that she does not care what non-Dabawenyos think of what she did — please don’t consider it as arrogance on her part. In my opinion, she said it because she felt that we Dabawenyos needed to hear it. Because, after all, she is our mayor, we put her in power and so she felt she was obliged to explain herself to us. Do you think YOUR mayor will ever do that?
I still have a lot to say but for now, let me just say one more thing. I said this earlier via Twitter and I will say it again.
In my humble opinion, only real Dabawenyos can understand why our Mayor Sara Duterte did what she did. You have to be in Davao, from Davao to fully understand why most, if not all, Dabawenyos support her and her father. We enjoy a certain level of security in Davao partly because of the Dutertes. Truth.
I also think that we should not be too quick to judge. We should all wait for the Department of Interior and Local Government’s move. As of this writing, sheriff Andres already said that he has no plans at all of filing charges against Mayor Sara. So let’s just wait for the DILG’s move.
In closing, I would just like to say that whether or not our lady mayor will get suspended (or even fired), one thing is now for certain — Davao Mayor Sara Duterte shook the Philippines “with a punch” and she has truly changed the way people look at female mayors! This isn’t the last that you’ll hear of Mayor Sara. She has one very bright political future ahead of her. Make my words.
Mindanaoan is a multi-awarded blogger, content creator, seasoned social media strategist and publicist with undeniably successful track record. 2012 International Visitor Leadership Program (for global leaders) alumnus and O visa grantee (for people with extraordinary skills and who have risen to the top of their field). Avid traveler and a proud relief operations volunteer. Regular resource person for social media, blogging and content creation. Available for work and travel – [email protected]