Davao City – Life is Here….

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:



  • 2009


  • 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).


  • 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.


  • Kalakbay Awards (1997)


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Gawad Galing Pook 2004 Awardee
  • National Commission on the Rights for Women (NCRFW) Award for
    Gender Responsive Local Governance 2005


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Davao City was chosen “Destination of the Year” by the Kalakbay Awards in 1997.


  • 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.


  • 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.”


  • 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





















About leawalkerblog

Businesswoman. Realtor. Photographer. Traveler. Blogger.
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3 Responses to Davao City – Life is Here….

  1. Pingback: Davao City – Life is Here…. | leawalkerblog

  2. Mike Wan says:

    He certainly has done well for Davao in “cleaning up” on hardcore crimes through unconventional ways. However, making Davao clean goes beyond vice activities and corruption. Social ills exist in both developed and undeveloped countries, regardless of how “clean” a country is. His “rambo” leadership was undoubtedly effective in situations during such that era. However today, people are becoming more educated and crimes have become much more sophisticated and intellectual perhaps. The way of dictatorship style has proven to fail in the long term. His adulterous lifestyle would pose a serious threat to moral values for the younger generation to come. In Singapore, any MP found to be involved in a bigamy or adulterous relationship would have to resign from political post. Given the multi-faceted complexities of social ills and the issues with MLF, etc. it would require a lot more strategic determination to manage a country like Philippines at a macro level.


    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comment. And thank you for reading my blog.

      I grew up with Mayor Duterte’s leadership. So I can say this with conviction. There was and there is no dictatorship style of government in Davao. 🙂 We have laws/ordinances that are strictly implemented. Hence, the discipline that he has inculcated in all of us for decades now.

      You mentioned Singapore. I have been there several times and the place amazed me. Their ordinance on bubble gums even is kinda funny but there it is, it did the job. It helped cleaned up the place. Another example, I am in America as of this writing. I saw a sign yesterday while we were on a drive, saying that Littering has a penalty of $3,000. What I am saying is , having the law implemented isn’t bad. And that’s what we have in Davao.

      Mayor Duterte isn’t perfect. He has his many failings. And I am not going to defend them. I don’t like it either. 🙂 But he is not corrupt. And I am looking for a President that truly and genuinely loves his people. You know, the kind who thinks of us when he wakes up until he goes to bed.
      That is the reason why he is loved by his contituents. He will do his best to help all of us or die trying. That is what sets him apart among all the politicians we have now.

      When I was in Elementary, we had Good Manners and Right Conduct subject. But to me , that is just a follow up, so to speak. I deeply believe that values education starts at home. The environment at home that any child grows up in, is what will define him/her as a person. That is why, it is a must that parents should instill discipline in their children at a young age. That way, regardless of what they are exposed to in the future , it will not affect their values. Because what they have learned when they were younger are deeply rooted within themselves. This should help them identify which values to follow from the Mayor .

      Economic wise, I can give you a forecast on where the peso would go based on technicals. But fundamentals like elections, peace and order situation, government spendings, etc are big factors too. Mayor Duterte may not be an economist but from a “No Mans’ Land” in the 80’s, he made Davao City to what it is today. A safe and very progressive city with jobs for the people. And that’s from a small share that Davao City gets out of the income that the LGU submits to the head office in Manila. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think we only get back 30% of our total income. Economics is such a big word. But the bottom line there is , where will the people’s money go. And based on our experiences with him, he will ensure that such monies will go back to the Filipino people.

      Mayor Duterte is respected by both Muslims and Christians alike. He is respected by leftist groups as well. That is how he can talk to them. Peace may have been elusive for the Philippines, but Mayor Duterte being part Muslim, real peace may be possible with our brothers.

      Mike, I may be dreaming. But I am praying that one day, we will all be called with just one name, FILIPINOS.

      Today, it is enough for me to know, that with Rodrigo R. Duterte, there is that chance.

      Again, thank you for your comment. That made me think. haha


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