A POLICE officer assigned here told my friend that he wants to be assigned here longer because Davao City is where he feels there is still great respect for the law and the law enforcers.
It's heartwarming, he said, for random strangers to ask to have a selfie with him when he goes around in uniform and all because people have this fondness for policemen.
He never felt this in his other assignments, he said, especially in that one terrible district in Metro Manila where scalawags remain well-entrenched. It's unbelievable, he said, to be attending to issues like two policemen's wives quarreling because of a shared laundry space in the barracks. It may border on the ridiculous, but having that as a “case” to attend to has a refreshing feel to it, as against having to deal with drug-dealing and kidnapping policemen.
PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, a friend and a colleague from a lifetime ago, has a similar feeling about the city. It's a breath of fresh air, she says, when people have this quiet resolve to make everything right especially for those who have the least.
There is respect for the law and the people, in quiet acknowledgement of a system that works for everyone. In instances where resources may be lacking there will always be people who will help in whatever way they can.
This was the feeling when I attended the annual dinner for a cause for the House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer Inc. last week, knowing the full story of how House of Hope came to be from a tiny corner of the Davao Medical Center pediatric ward to the full Cancer Institute at the Southern Philippines Medical Center. The evening was about the children and the Dabawenyos were there showing their quiet support. No one was grabbing the limelight, it was the evening for the children.
It's always like that. Everyone is there but no one is the star. The only hint that there are major efforts being done in the background is in seeing things done. Like, who can ever imagine that a government hospital can provide free cancer treatment to the poor from all over Mindanao in a facility that can approximate private hospitals except for the relatively greater number of patients?
That is the dignity we speak of as Dabawenyos, where no one has to beg for help because the community already anticipated what are needed and what has to be done.
Out there in the real world, the poor have to exert all effort to be caught on television camera so they can cry their hearts out to beg, while those who hate the President jeer at the Dabawenyos.
We thrive on, we live on. In quiet dignity.