I was in high school the first time I heard Mayor Rody Duterte give a speech. He made such an impact in my young mind that I promised myself, I would vote for him when I am already allowed to do so. I don’t remember everything he said but one thing that stuck was his promise to clean up the city literally and figuratively speaking.
Back then, where my family and I used to live was called “Nicaragdao”, short for Nicarag and Agdao. Nicarag is derived from the root word “karag” which is translated into the following: shake, vibrate, quiver, throb. Yes, true to its nickname, Agdao was really shaken at that time. Infact one of the barangays was called Barrio Patay because it seemed like people get killed on a daily basis. Scary? Oh yes! Very…
There was a time when people , I do not remember who they belong to, would knock on everyone’s door and count the men living in each residence. I remember getting scared for my father. I always had this fear – what if someday, he would be picked up too like the other men in the neighborhood and get killed?
To all of you who grew up in a nice neighborhood where such experiences are as alien as living in planet Mars, you will never understand how most of us in Davao felt at that time. You should be thankful for such blessing.
Peace and order seemed like an elusive dream for all Davaoenos, specially for those who lived in the poor side of the city.
And then he became the Mayor. Slowly but surely, Davao City indeed got cleaned up. The birth of the firecracker ban was clearly explained to all of us. The city , having had insurgency problems and terrorist attacks , needed to ban the use of firecrackers during Christmas and the New Year because most of the big ones sound like gun shots. That said, it will be difficult for the police to know if the sound came from gun shots or firecrackers. Plus of course, it’s to ensure that no one goes to the hospital during those times due to firecracker accidents as well. Its implementation of course was met with complaints. But everyone cooperated in the end because it was for the good of all constituents. All it took was an iron fist. And the need to discipline the people.
Other Ordinances, such as the following , were born as well:
No Smoking in Public Places – if you are new to the City, please be advised of this ordinance. This is strictly implemented.
Liquor Restrictions from 1am to 8am
Speed Limit – this is strictly being implemented too. We have long lens cameras that can focus on your plate numbers. So mga kaskasero, you’ll have trouble in Davao.
Anti Descrimination Law – An ordinance declaring unlawful acts and conducts of discrimination based on sex, gender, identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, and religios affiliation, or beliefs and penalizing the same.
Women Development Code of Davao City – the policy of the Local Government of Davao City to uphold the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings. Women shall be recognized as full and equal partners of men in development and nation building and men shall share equally with all forms of productive and reproductive activities.
Anti Nuisance Ordinance. In our City, we can call 911 to complain if a neighbor decides to have videoke or karaoke until the wee hours of the morning. And yes, minutes later the police would actually come knocking on your door. There is a limit of 10:00 in the evening for such kind of noise. Loud music on vehicles that disturb others are not allowed as well.
And of course, the war on drugs is strictly implemented. So if your business is selling drugs, do not come here. Period.
I am sure Davaoenos would still remember the days when we were so afraid of snatchers, akyat bahay gang, etc. Now, we can walk freely on the street anytime of the day, or night for that matter. No one would mug you. No one would snatch your purse or cellphones or jewelries here. I wonder if you can talk about your cities the same way?
Is Davao perfect? Of course not. There are days when bad elements try to enter the city. But they get caught. If not today, then soon.
Another thing that I am so proud of are our taxi drivers. They return your change. 🙂 And they do not overcharge. If you encounter any problem with your taxi driver, get the plate number and name of the driver. Then go to the nearest police station and report such act. That gets acted on immediately. Mayor Duterte would sometimes take the necessary action personally. That’s how disciplined our taxi drivers are here. There are hard headed newbies that try to practice what they’re used to from wherever they came from, but I believe now they know that they cannot do that in Davao. ha ha
And then there’s 911. We just dial these 3 numbers when we have emergencies. And their response time is fast. Oh yeah, Davaoenos are smug because we are pretty proud of our city. 🙂
Let me share with you the Awards that Davao City has gathered over the years:
MOST CULTURE-FRIENDLY CITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
ONE OF THE 20 MOST LIVABLE CITIES IN ASIA
- In the annual survey made by Asiaweek on the 40 Best cities in Asia, Davao City has unfailingly made it to the top for four consecutive years (1996-1999).
THE PHILIPPINES’ MOST LIVABLE CITY
- One of the Only Three Areas in the World to have the Integrated emergency Response System 911 as Top 25 Best Practices in the Philippines
- Davao City is one of only three areas in world, after the United States and Canada to have the Integrated Emergency Response System 911, a fully computerized response system linking the people of the city to the emergency resources of the government.
- Davao City received an award for its Project 911 from the League of Cities in the Philippines in 2003, as one of the Top 25 Best Practices in the Philippines.
TOP DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
- Kalakbay Awards (1997)
CLEANEST AND GREENEST HIGHLY-URBANIZED CITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Davao City received an award of excellence from the Office of the President as the 1st Runner-up in the Cleanest and Greenest Highly-Urbanized City in the Philippines-Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran Awards 2004, and the second runner up for three consecutive years in 2001-2003.
CLEANEST AND GREENEST CITY IN 1999
- Davao City was awarded the Cleanest and Greenest City in 1999 for its clean and green program that focus on environmental rehabilitation, protection and conservation, intensification of solid waste management program, pollution control, re-greening of the urban areas, forest and watershed management.
MOST CHILD-FRIENDLY CITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Davao City came out the runaway choice for the coveted spot in the first-ever selection of the Most Child-Friendly City in the Philippines in 1988 and 1999 due to its local government’s programs and initiatives directly benefiting the children.
- It has also won nods for the initiative to pass a landmark legislation- the Davao City Children’s Welfare Code of 1994, the first of its kind in the country, specifically geared towards addressing the rights, services and protection of children, therefore upholding their welfare and interests in high regard.
MOST COMPETITIVE CITY TO DO BUSINESS IN THE PHILIPPINES
- In 2002, Davao City was recognized as the Most Competitive City to do Business in the Philippines by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center and the Department of Trade and Industry in their assessment of Philippine Cities Competitiveness. In 2003, Davao was also chosen 3rd Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippine Cities Competitiveness ranking.
MOST GENDER RESPONSIVE LGU IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Gawad Galing Pook 2004 Awardee
- National Commission on the Rights for Women (NCRFW) Award for
Gender Responsive Local Governance 2005
HALL OF FAME, BEST PEACE AND ORDER COUNCIL IN THE PHILIPPINES
- The National Peace and Order Council of the National Police Commission placed Davao City in the Hall of Fame in 2004 for winning Best Peace and Order Council in Region XI for three consecutive years (1999-2002). It is recognition of Davao City’s sustained and exemplary accomplishments in implementing programs and projects of the Peace and Order Councils (POC’S) at various levels.
MOST OUTSTANDING LGU: Regional Literacy Awards and 2nd Place in the 2005 National Literacy Awards
- The Department of Education hailed Davao City as the “Most Outstanding Local Government Unit” in the 2005 National Literacy Awards”, all under the Highly Urbanized City Category.
REGIONAL GREEN BANNER AWARDEE
- The National Nutrition Council of the Department of Agriculture awarded Davao City the “2004 Regional Green Banner” in recognition of the City Nutrition Committee’s exemplary performance in managing the nutrition program of the city, thereby contributing to the improvement of the nutritional status of its constituents.
TOP GOVERNMENT WITHOLDING AGENT
- The Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Revenue Region 19, Revenue District No. 113, Davao City recognized the City Government for its invaluable support and contribution to RDO 113 as the “Top Government Withholding Agent” by making substantial tax payment-an act of patriotism worthy of recognition and commendation.
TOP TOURIST DESTINATION IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Davao City was chosen “Destination of the Year” by the Kalakbay Awards in 1997.
MOST OUTSTANDING CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN THE PHILIPPINES AND IN ASIA PACIFIC REGION
- The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCII) was bestowed the “ Most Outstanding Chamber Award for 2005” . DCCII was likewise recognized as the “Best Chamber in the Asia-Pacific Region” during a selection held in New Delhi in 2005.
MOST OUTSTANDING KBP CHAPTER IN THE PHILIPPINES
- The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas acknowledged its Davao City local chapter as the “Best KBP Chapter for 2004.” It was once again given recognition for winning “2nd Place for the Best Local Chapter Report.”
CLEANEST AIR IN THE WORLD-MEMBER OF THE CLEAN CITIES COALITION
- In 2005, Davao City was launched as the second pilot area of the Clean Cities Program (CCP) implemented by the Sustainable Energy Development Program (SEDP), in partnership with the US Department of Energy (USDOE) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
We may have more awards that what I’ve gathered above. So feel free to write them down on the comment box below. 🙂
More than the awards though, I am thankful to the Local Government of Davao , specially to Mayor Rody Duterte for cleaning up Davao City. From a very scary place to one of the safest cities in the world, that’s not an easy task. And you did it Mayor.
You have declined citations , saying that you were just doing your job. Therefore a personal award is not needed. So I will just say, thank you for everything that you do to keep our city safe.
To those who have called Davaoenos , who believe in Mayor Duterte, “Dutertards” or “fantards”, sorry but it does not bother me at all. One, because I know I am not a retard. Two, I live in one of the safest cities in the world and enjoying it. So I pity those who are not experiencing that. Three, I have a special child nephew who have more respect for others than those that resort to name callings. 🙂 And four, I have more class than you, regardless of how high you think of yourselves. So I forgive you for belittling and berating us. After all , I am a Davaoena. And so proud of it.
Before I end, my question is this – can you say the same for your city or your Mayor? If yes, then I am happy for you.
If not, then I rest my case. 🙂
Lea C. Walker