Monday July 16, 2018

Davao City through the years

LONG before it was known as the safest city in the world and home of the first Mindanaoan president, Davao City came to be 80 years ago as a form of revolt from Japanese occupation and has been rocked by different kinds of unrest in the decades that followed.

Based on the Davao Reconstructing History from Text and Memory, 2005, by Macario Tiu, it was during the constitutional convention in 1934 that Davao delegate Pantaleon Pelayo Sr. denounced the unlimited acquisition of land of the Japanese. The issue became a national concern so that Davao was made into a chartered city with appointive officials.

It was the first elected Assemblyman of Davao, Romualdo Quimpo, who filed Bill 609 or the Commonwealth Act 51 or An Act Creating the City of Davao.

It was signed into law by President Manuel Quezon in October 1936. This was followed by the issuance of Executive Proclamation 132 that formally organized the City of Davao on March 1, 1937.

Republic Act 551 was passed in 1990 to declare March 16 of every year as the special non working public holiday in Davao City.

This was in accordance to the approval of Commonwealth Act 51, otherwise known as the Charter of Davao City, mandating the creation of the city as a distinct political subdivision.

After the war, Davao continued to attract more settlers who sought to find greener pastures.

In early 1970s, student unrest rocked Davao city. Known as first quarter storm (1970) the student movement rapidly swept the country.

In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law which only fanned the unrest. Both Moro insurgency and the communist-led New People’s Army made their present felt in Davao.

In the 1980s, Davao became a hotbed of the New People's Army that made Davao City its urban warfare laboratory.

But through leadership and cooperation of the people Davao grew up to a much more livable city, as the local government unit strived to have close and vibrant relationship with the private sector.

Under the leadership of then mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte, peace and order was restored.

The Central 911, unique in the city, was also able to help keep the city safe with full capacity of closed circuit cameras places in crucial areas.

The women’s code and children’s concerns were also prioritized as well as well-accounted programs for the citizens tested by the grand slam award for the child-friendly city for urban cities, and lastly the Seal of Good local governance award signed by then Department of Interior and local government was awarded to the city in the year 2015.

And that was only among several things that the Dabawenyos should be proud of.

Fast dynamic changes make it hard to keep up what are the basic things about Davao, but this knowledge gap was now being bridged by initiatives done by the local government.

This year's programs conducted by Museo Dabawenyo, local museum of Davao City, are concentrated to the grade school students in 11 public schools in the selected 11 districts of Davao City to teach and show and tell the rich culture of Davao tracing from its Spanish origins, heroes, and the struggles that the city had.

Aside from that, preservation of historical architecture left in the city especially in Mintal village is being prioritized.

The development of landmarks built by Japanese settlers in Mintal village also got worth P10-million budget for the construction of “Little Tokyo.”

Little Tokyo will also be built soon as the Berkman International tapped by Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority will present their final draft for the masterplan of the development of the area this March 13.

The Little Tokyo will feature a Japanese hospital, market, cemetery, and the monument of Ohta Kyozaburo, a businessman who established the first Japanese-owned abaca company in the Philippines.

City Tourism Operations head Generose Tecson in an earlier statement said the move of developing and restoring Little Tokyo and making it part of the City's Tourism circuit is seen to increase the influx of tourists here as it features a unique cultural village bringing back the visitors to the time of pre-World War II (1919 to 1945) when Japanese settled in the city.

Little Tokyo was even visited by the wife of Shinzo Abe who went in Davao and met the President last January 2017.

These are only one example of project that Davao city sets up to highlight historical places in Davao.

Davao City local officials are also yearning to a much stronger Davao, with residents who acknowledge the four icons of Davao, the Philippine Eagle, the Mt. Apo, the waling-waling, and the durian.

Not just that but also the rich solidarity of 11 tribes (Clata-Giangan, Sama, Taga-bawa, Kagan, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Ata, Obo-Manobo, Matigsalug, Kalagan, Maranao) which also represent the inclusivity of Davao and its solidity in diversity, this is celebrated every Kadayawan Festival.

Much has been and much will be, that is the promise of Davao City, the home of the eagle, the new capital city of the south.