DAVAO City Administrator Zuleika Lopez told City Government personnel not to make City Mayor Sara Duterte's boat heavy.

In Monday's flag raising ceremony, Lopez impressed upon the City Hall employees to put on top of their list how they can help Duterte in her service as city mayor, and how they as City Government employees can serve the public better.

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"Nilarga na ang barko ni Inday Sara. Dili ta magpabugat sa barko kay ang magpabugat sa barko, iuban ba nato o ibilin? Ibilin (Inday Sara's boat has embarked on its voyage. We should not make it heavy because those who would become a burden to the boat, what do we do with them? Do we keep them on the boat or do we leave them behind? We leave them behind)," Lopez said in her address.

"We're starting the work week, I want you to take a moment to reflect, one, unsa ba akong mahimo para makatabang kay Inday Sara. Two, unsa ba ang akong mahimo para makatabang sa dakbayan sa Dabaw? (One, what can I do to help Inday Sara? Two, what can I do to help the City of Davao?)" she said.

Lopez also disclosed to the City Hall employees how she has come to know Duterte, both personally and professionally.

Lopez recalled that her father, lawyer Jose Lopez was a city fiscal who worked together with Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, erstwhile City Mayor and also the longest serving in the city's history.

"On a personal level, Inday is very friendly, very approachable, and very simple. Tama yung sinabi niya sa kanyang inaugural speech na wala siyang ego. In many ways, she is like her father, Vice Mayor Rody. Wala siyang hang-ups, wala siyang kaarte-arte. She is truly her father's daughter," Lopez said.

Lopez said as SP secretary, she knows Duterte possesses qualities of a leader: (1) firm and decisive; (2) commitment to public service; and (3) generosity in professionalism.

"Si Inday Sara, pag gumawa siya ng decision she will support it all the way. Hindi yan decision na bunga ng kapricho. Isa yang bunga ng isang masusing pagaaral. Hers is a form of consultative leadership. She does not presume to know all the problems of the City of Davao. Nagko-konsulta siya sa department heads, barangay captains, sa deputy mayors, private sector partners.”

"Alam mo where you are at any given time. Hindi yang, isa yung sinasabi niya pagkaharap mo and kung nakatalikod na iba. Hindi po ganoon, kasi pag si Inday Sara ang kausap mo isa lang ang kausap mo, isa lang ang boss mo si Inday Sara lang," Lopez said.

Lopez said Duterte's vision of public service means "as much as possible it should be the government who approaches the people and not otherwise.”

Even as vice mayor, the younger Duterte organized the ‘Inday para sa Barangay’ to bring basic government services to the people.

These include free notarial services, medical consultations rendered by the City Health Office, and free civil registration among others.

"Sometimes pumapasok lang siya sa Sanggunian as Vice Mayor once sa isang semana or dalawa, pero pag pumasok siya i-in siya ng alas dose after lunch and minsan umuuwi na siya ng alas diyes ng gabi. In other words she tries to accommodate every single person na pumupunta sa Sanggunian Panglungsod," Lopez said.

"Walang pinipili, walang pagdapig-dapig. Pag nakikita ko si Inday sa kanyang trabaho naalala ko ang sabi ng lola ko na ang pagaasawa ay hindi kanin na pag ayaw na iluluwa. In other words si Inday Sara when she signed on her committement as mayor of Davao City alam natin na hindi niya tayo pababayaan she is here to stay," Lopez said.

Lopez also said Duterte believes in promoting people for their hard work.

She recalled that as SP secretary, her first instruction from the erstwhile vice mayor was to create a team to review the performance of Sanggunian personnel with the aim to promote those who are qualified and worthy of promotion.

"When she was Vice Mayor (at least) 40 plantilla positions were promoted to higher positions," she said.

Duterte, she said, was also a staunch believer of continued education such that at the SP, they had numerous capability building seminars.

"In other words, kay inday Sara hindi lang siya ang magaling, tayong lahat ay magaling. Kung kugihan ug maayo ang imong agi (If you are diligent in your work) she will reward you professionally," Lopez said. (Jade C. Zaldivar)