A fiery exit, a fiery start for Dutertes

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Monday, December 30, 2013

DAVAO CITY -- The year 2013 is a year of the comeback of “The Punisher,” City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who quickly implemented several no-no’s within the first six months.

But before he assumed post, his daughter former Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was recognized for the accomplishments that the city earned during her three-year term.

Undoubtedly, one of the assets of Davao City is its leaders. Netizens all over the country voiced out their opinions wanting the Duterte’s, especially the father, to rule the entire country, not because they are prominent, but because of its good governance which includes peace and order.

The city of Davao is ranked fourth as the world's safest place, according to website Numbeo.com released on August this year.

Out of 349 entries, Davao City is the only metropolis in the Philippines that made it to the top 10. It has a crime index of 13.27 and safety index of 86.73.

Like father, like daughter

Before her exit, the younger Duterte underscored her no-nonsense governance matched with her no-nonsense stand on major irritants.

Considered as the 2013 irritant that gave Dabawenyos a hint of the young mayor’s temper once more was the Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J-971 runway mishap at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport that caused the cancellation of some 80 scheduled daily flights to and from Davao City and affected thousands of passengers from June 2-4.

What incensed Duterte was when the airport authorities did not even call Central 911 for help at that time the plane overshot the runway.

Davao City reportedly lost some P250 million in the two days the airport was closed and drove the young Duterte to say that she herself will call in scrap metal collectors to break down the plane if Cebu Pacific is still not able to remove it from the runway.

Amid the hot words were hotter words from passengers who slammed the airline for not even attending to them. Everything was settled, the plane towed out to the old airport hangar and the passengers generously compensated.

The Punisher

The young Duterte quietly slipped out as her father, the 68-year-old maverick mayor, took his oath before Municipal Trial Court in Cities executive judge Jean Jaugan-Lo at the City Hall of Davao on June 30. His speech was a vow to ensure the security of the Dabawenyos and an ultimatum against people involved in illegal drugs and other heinous crimes to leave the city.

"The clock is ticking away the hours from you. You can leave either vertically or horizontally. It is up to you. If you fight, the day ends permanently for you," the elder Duterte told criminals in his 10-minute inaugural speech.

Aside from the peace and order situation in the city, few of the first reforms were felt in his governance like the imposition of the 72-hour transaction policy within all departments of the City Government of Davao which is aimed at curbing corruption.

“We are dead set in stopping corruption in the City Government. Do not test the determination and will of the city to institute this reform. Ignore this warning and you will regret it," Duterte said.

There was also an overhaul among the department heads and chiefs of offices in the City Government of Davao, which among them was naming former Councilor Melchor Quitain as the city administrator.

Until now, the mayor is yet to name the replacement of Quitain in the 17th City Council, adding that he wants somebody from the Muslim community.

New faces and come-backing local lawmakers also filled in the 17th City Council. Among the new faces are Dr. Joselle Villafuerte and Atty. Petite Principe, while the come-backing are Mabel Acosta, Leo Avila, Bonifacio Militar, Diosdado Mahipus and Danilo Dayanghirang.

Just recently, another woman lawmaker has been added up to the council when Catalunan Grande barangay chief January Navares-Duterte, wife of Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte who is the son of the city mayor, was elected as the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president.

Only Mahipus is the local lawmaker who has no committee to handle.

The Punisher’s order

Mayor Duterte’s first marching order was to implement an amended liquor ban, which does not only prohibit the serving and selling of liquor but also the drinking of intoxicating drinks in all establishments, along city streets, parking areas and uninhabited places from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The policy, Duterte’s brainchild, was proposed by Councilor Bonifacio Militar before the members of the body. It was the first legislation that the City Council approved.

The New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao City, which only allows smoking in one's residences, private vehicles, and outdoor designated places, was also enforced on May 31.

The ordinance prohibits smoking in public conveyances, government-owned vehicles, accommodation and entertainment establishments, workplaces, enclosed or partially enclosed public places, public buildings and public outdoor spaces including cemetery, markets, and terminals.

The Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City, headed by Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, issued thousands of citation tickets to violators since the implementation of the ordinance.

Because of the new smoking ordinance, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca) named Davao City on July 8 as the first 100 percent smoke-free metropolitan in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.

Other provinces around the country had also held their smoke-free study visit here with an intention to also implement a smoke-free regulation in public places in their areas.

Duterte is personally advocating the campaign against smoking.

Shopping malls and/or commercial centers in the city were also told to install, operate and maintain high end and high definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras positioned within eye level of an average-height person; subject every individual to a bodily search/inspection, particularly those wearing caps and sunglasses; and install CCTV cameras at the entrance and exit points of each of the movie houses, common hallways leading to all comfort rooms.

Wearing of caps, hats, helmets, bonnets, headgears, and the like, as well as sunglasses or any dark-lens eye wear, are also required to remove these during security inspection.

This came after two bombs exploded within minutes of each other inside the SM City cinema around 9:03 p.m. and inside a Gaisano Mall of Davao cinema around 9:25 p.m. on September 16.

Just recently, live in the city has slowed down further as Duterte issued the Executive Order (EO) No. 39 that sets speed limits in the city.

Drivers must observe a maximum speed of 60 kilometer per hour (kph) from Sirawan to Ulas Crossing, from Lasang to Panacan, from Calinan to Ulas Crossing, and from C.P Gracia Highway-McArthur Highway to Panacan.

For vehicles that traverse from Ulas to Generoso Bridge/Bolton Bridge, from Panacan Crossing to J.P Laurel Avenue-Alcantara, and from Ma-a Road Diversion to McArthur Highway, a maximum speed of 40 kph is mandated.

A maximum speed of 30 kph, meanwhile, is ordered from J.P Laurel Ave. Alcantara to Bolton/Generoso Bridge, from Buhangin Crossing-Milan to Bolton/Generoso Bridge, from C.P Garcia Highway-Bacaca Road to Bolton/Generoso Bridge, and from C.P Garcia Highway-Angliongto St. to Bolton/Generoso Bridge.

Duterte did not heed complaints from motorists saying that the EO is aimed at reducing traffic accidents due to overspeeding.

The EO implements Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines enacted in June 1964.

“Talagang mahina. Ang buhay sa Davao ngayon is very slow, slow motion and I like it because it has reduced considerably the number of accidents in the city. Wala akong pakialam. I cannot change the law. That is a national law. I cannot amend it. I cannot change the law,” Duterte said.

The City Government of Davao has already purchased at least 11 speed guns to strictly monitor erring drivers.

Helping hand

The City Government of Davao was quick to extend help to provinces affected by calamities in 2013.

Duterte said the City has to help and take care of the fellow Filipinos, thus the quick release of assistance soon after calamities.

A financial assistance worth P18.5 million was extended to 36 affected municipalities in Bohol and Cebu that were struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on October 15.

READ: Davao brings P18M as help to Cebu, Bohol

At least 35 municipalities - 10 from Cebu province and 25 from Bohol - received P500,000 each while P1 million was given to Maribojoc town in Bohol, whose mayor, Leoncio Evasco Jr., served the city as chief of staff of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for more than a decade.

The City also extended P8-million financial assistance to the hardest hit areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda-- P2 million for Tacloban City, P3 million for Southern Leyte, and another P3 million for the province of Leyte.

READ: City sends rescue team; to give P8M aid to Visayas

Aside from financial cash, Duterte also sent off a 55-man team who brought with them rescue equipment and medical supplies, to help in the search and rescue efforts. The city was among the first responder in Leyte after Yolanda hit.

"Davao City prides itself with modern equipment but this is not really intended for Davao City alone. God gave these things to us to serve mankind," Duterte said.

During the send-off, Duterte told the rescue team: "You must go and help. You have to go there to care for them. You have to go there to be with them. You have to go there and even to die for them."

Four days after, second batch of 41-man search and rescue team was sent off to Tacloban City to reinforce the first batch.

Because of these circumstances, the call for Duterte to become the Philippine president has again given birth.

The mayor brushed off these calls and challenged those who are doing such that if ever he becomes president, the first he will do is install a revolutionary government and shut down Congress.

"If I'm the president, I will declare a revolutionary government. I will rebel against my own government and close down everything except your businesses and make a body to take care of your expenses," Duterte said.

Indeed, the year 2013 is a year of the comeback of The Punisher. This year also signifies the start of everything, start of reforms that are set to lift up the image of Davao City and start of friendship and camaraderie extended to other provinces and cities aimed at sharing what the City has got all these years. (Sun.Star Davao)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 31, 2013.

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