How Duterte transformed Davao City

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Thursday, February 6, 2014


TWO Saturdays ago, I flew with some media guys to Davao City on the inaugural trip of the direct flight of Cebu Pacific Air between Bacolod and Davao. Three times weekly, Bacoleños and Davaoweños could visit each other’s city because of this new travel destination.

It was my initiative to ask my friend former Department of Tourism Region 11 Director Art Boncato, now DOT Assistant Secretary for Mindanao, to host our travel to Davao City and for him to host our hotel accommodations, meals, tours, land transports. Indeed ASec Art did not think twice to grant my request.

I told my entourage that we are flying to one of the safest cities of the world, that is Davao City, where I actually grew up and studied at the Ateneo de Davao from grade one till high school. My close buddy was banana tycoon Tony Boy Floirendo Jr. who also owns the Damosa properties and the prime lot of SM Lanang Premiere Davao.

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When we landed Davao City International Airport, our DOT hosts drove us to Marco Polo Davao hotel for our billeting with the tour guide telling us that we will be traveling on a 30 kph speed as this is the new order from Mayor Rody Duterte who wants the city to be safe from vehicular accidents.

Indeed true, as no less than the daughter of the mayor was one of the first apprehended by the traffic personnel for alleged overspeeding at 51 kph. Former City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte had to pay the fine and attend the seminar as required. Practically there was not much overtaking of vehicles as we travelled.

Davao City is a no-smoking city and everyone abides by the law. In public places that are air-conditioned, the penalty is P10,000 for smoking violation. Would you dare attempt to violate then?

The city is clean and safe with drinking of liquor allowed only until one in the morning. I agree with this since only drinking addicts would dare to drink after this hour. That is not social drinking after one in the morning.

With my own two eyes I saw traffic authorities using the speed gun along the national highways as evidence of apprehending speed violators.

On our Sunday tour, we were privileged to visit the city’s Public Safety and Rescue Command Center (PSSRC). It was designed by IBM which claimed that this project is their first in the world, during the term of Rody’s daughter Mayor Inday Sara Duterte. Impressive, awesome and really something are words to describe the project.

Whenever he desires, Mayor Rody drives a taxicab to check his city on weekends and apprehensions could happen anytime. So who wants to get apprehended anyway? To be continued

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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