Duterte won't intervene in Comval protest-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
DAVAO City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he has no authority to control the protesters who barricaded the Compostela Valley highway on Tuesday.
At the sidelines of the Fellowship Night of the 14th Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national convention, Duterte said he had to pay respect with the officials and the people of Compostela Valley.
"I never committed to be there and I will not go there because it is not my duty to be there and I refuse to intervene or interfere in the business of somebody else's task," he told reporters.
Thousands of Pablo victims blocked the national road in Montevista starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, resulting to traffic and stranded vehicles and commuters.
"It is not my duty (to intervene) since it is outside my jurisdiction, out of my territorial boundaries," the vice mayor said.
"I don't want myself to be a hero there at the expense of other people. I do not need it, actually," he said.
He said the same scenario had happened before during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who ordered him to resolve the issue being the chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC).
Duterte said he was able to talk with the militants before, asking to disperse from the highway just to allow the safe passage of the motorists coming from Agusan and Davao City.
At that time, he said the progressive groups did as told, which made him thankful for following his request.
"Now I'm just the vice mayor and I don't have anything to do with the caucus being created. Kung sabihin ko sa kanila, umalis kayo diyan at ayaw nila, eh, di wala akong magagawa. At kung sasabihin kong diyan lang kayo, at ayaw umalis, wala pa rin naman tayong magagawa," Duterte said.
"This time I do not know the issue, what's the sense of the activity. So I refuse to make any categorical statement about the whole thing," he added.
Major Jake Obligado, chief of the Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, said militant groups allegedly deceived residents days before the incident, informing them that Duterte and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao were arriving in Montevista to give relief goods.
However, Duterte said the authorities, both the military and police, and the civilian government should realize that dropping names is "a practice being done almost every controversy."
Further, he said the demand of 10,000 bags of rice should be addressed to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and neither to him nor Pacquiao.
DSWD-Davao director Priscilla N. Razon, meanwhile, denied allegations that relief goods did not reach the calamity victims in the area.
"We have covered practically all the barangays (affected)," Razon said.
In a statement, Razon said they will release the demand of 10,000 bags of rice once the group who barricaded follows the DSWD standard procedure on Relief Distribution.
"We are releasing to them [protesters] the 10,000 bags of rice once they comply with the standard procedure that we follow in Disaster Relief Operations. Being accountable for the public goods, DSWD adheres to these procedures in all of its Disaster Relief Operations," Razon said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 19, 2013.