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With the new president of the Philippines, President Duterte, the spotlight has turned its way to Davao City with more and more Filipinos getting interested on visiting or even living in Mindanao’s premier city. Three times bigger than Metro Manila, six times the size of Cebu, and one of the largest metropolitan areas not just in Asia but in the world, the Philippines’ fastest-growing city has earned nicknames like “The Singapore of the Philippines.” Davao City continues to bring in lots of testimonials and news about its safety, low cost of living, and the best mix of things to do and nature. So, what is the fuss really all about? What’s in Davao City that makes it the safest and most liveable city in the Philippines? Here are 10 reasons why:
1) Rules and regulations are strictly being implemented.
A favorite destination for study tours, Davao City is regarded as a model for other cities in the country. The local government is much admired not just nationally but also internationally. It has led in crafting landmark pieces of legislation, pioneering innovations in local governance, strong political will in implementing policies and programs, a high level of self-sufficiency; and its pluralist and liberal political climate result in significant grassroots and civil society participation.
Even with a population of over 1.3 million and an urban density estimated at 2,400 persons per square kilometer, Davao City’s crime rate still remains among the lowest in the country. This has earned for Davao City the distinction as the Most Peaceful City in the East and Southeast Asia for a number of years already.
The city contains also numerous medical facilities, both private and public, with highly competent medical practitioners. There are three public hospitals: Southern Philippines Medical Center, Paquibato District Hospital and Camp Panacan Station Hospital, in addition to more than 30 private hospitals, excluding clinics and lying-in centers. Some hospitals are capable of performing complex operations from kidney transplants to heart surgeries, as well as providing luxurious medical tourism facilities.
The city also has an Anti-Smoking Ordinance implemented in 2002. Primarily, the intention is to protect the public from the hazard of second-hand smoke.
The city has policies to keep its remaining environmental frontiers intact and rehabilitate those which have been destroyed by development and lack of concern. These are in the form of ordinances and issuances, prominently among them the Watershed Code, the Marine Protected Area Ordinance, the Ordinance Banning Aerial Spraying of Farms, and the Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance.
It has also affiliated with the Clean Cities Coalition of the Energy and Clean Air Project of the United States Agency for International Development or USAID to be able to create the necessary mechanisms to help address the issue of global warming.
It also leads the Davao Gulf Management Council, which is now undertaking the Environment Sensitivity Index (ESI) on the city’s gulf water. The ESI is a combined satellite, aerial imaging and ground truthing which identifies areas where sea creatures including coral reefs and sea grasses thrive and those that should be protected.
2) 911 Team always on-the-go.
Davao City is the only Asian city that has an integrated emergency response system similar to that of the United States and Canada, the difference being that in Davao City, the service is absolutely for free and totally subsidized by the local government. Central 911 responds to all kinds of emergencies : medical, fire, police assistance, natural or man-made disaster. The Davao City Disaster Coordinating Council has been cited as the best prepared disaster coordinating council in the country.
3) Potable and safe water and abundant supply of power are available here.
Davao City’s tap water has been tested for quality and was adjudged as one of the best in the world in terms of cleanliness, safety, mineral content, and taste. No need for boiling, distilling, purifying, adding of minerals. The Davao City Water District (DCWD) is the number one water utility company among the 50 water utilities in the Asia- Pacific region.
Also, being the third largest privately-owned electric utility in the Philippines, Davao Light & Power Co. is the country’s most efficiently run power utility. The city is also the first in the country to have an adaptive traffic signalization system and has a state-of-the-art traffic system similar to the system in Los Angeles, California, USA.
4) It has high police visibility, low crime rate and vehicular accidents.
Have a holiday in the city that boasts of having one of the lowest crime rates (averaging 0.8 per 10,000 population per month). The Davao City Police Office has consistently been chosen as the Best Police Office in the entire country. The Davao City Peace and Order Council has been elevated to the Philippine Hall of Fame for consistently being the best performing in the country.
5) Low cost of living.
In Davao City, the ideal quality of life does not come at a high cost! When in Davao City, you enjoy the freshest and highest quality agricultural produce. It exports large volumes of banana, pineapple, orchids, and tuna. Its pomelo, durian, and mangosteen are sought-after by many, yet these remain affordable and accessible to the locals on a daily basis.
6) It has maintained cleanliness in its surroundings.
Davao City takes advantage of environmental laws which ensure proper collection and disposal of garbage. The city is known for its well-disciplined residents plus a localized version of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act which is now being implemented. A huge sanitary landfill in place, regular and systematic collection of garbage from fixed points, and proper segregation have maintained cleanliness in the surroundings.
7) Low mortality rate. Healthy lifestyle.
Live a wholesome and healthy lifestyle in Davao City! The city pioneered the regulation of smoking in public places in the Philippines that gave birth to the National Anti-Smoking Law. Davao City has been a recipient of the prestigious Red Orchid Award of the Department of Health in 2010 and 2011 during the World No Tobacco Day. It has tough policies against dangerous drugs, violence against women and children (including prostitution and human trafficking), and environmental pollution. It has addressed the concern over aerial spraying in large plantations and banned the use of firecrackers and similar pyrotechnics. It leads in the conservation of endangered species such as the country’s national bird, the Philippine Eagle, as well as the protection of the city’s watershed, coastal areas, rivers and gulf. Davao City boasts of having one of the most progressive and comprehensive reproductive health program in the world.
8) It’s business-friendly.
Surveys and evaluations on the best places for business have always cited Davao as among the best performers. These include distinctions as being the Top 10 Asian Cities of the Future by the FDI magazine of The Financial Times, the Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippines with the Best Quality of Life by the Asian Institute of Management and a long list of numerous recognition and distinctions as the city has received in the recent years. All these are proof of the continuous and decisive strides in making Davao City a home for many productive ventures and endeavors.
9) Davao City is the Food Basket of the Philippines.
Harvests are bountiful in Davao City. The cultivation and propagation of natural resources dominate the economic landscape of the region as the city is surrounded by many different plantations and stock farms supplying both local and export markets. With the richness of agribusiness opportunities in and around the city, it’s no wonder that Davao City is considered the Food Basket of the Philippines.
10) It’s a great place to live, work and play.
Davao City has been cited in Asia for its high livability index, where residents can easily switch between fast-paced business transactions and soothing relaxation options. It is considered a major tourist destination in the East Asian region with an increasing number of international visitors since the 1990s.
The designation of the Tagurano-Catigan-Eden Tourism Development Zone as the Mountain Resort and Agro-Tourism Capital of Southern Mindanao illustrates determined efforts leading to the desirable transformation of the city as the Summer Capital of the Philippine South. Additionally, the presence of world-class beach resorts both in the city and on nearby Samal Island (30 minutes away by boat ride) has allowed Davao to offer a complete tourism package for all visitors.
Beyond just visiting, Davao is also seen as a retirement haven for people seeking a slower pace, due to its relaxed atmosphere, low cost of living, and numerous recreational options.
So, what are you waiting for? Come to Davao and experience it yourself!
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Many have already been rejoicing over Mayor Rodrigo (nicknamed Digong) Duterte’s landslide victory based on the unofficial vote counting from the COMELEC. Having a huge lead from his rivals, he will soon be the Republic of the Philippines’ 16th President. As the Philippine Elections draw to a close, let’s take a closer look at Digong’s history aside from the several news stories we see, hear and read about him.
Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte was born to Vicente G. Duterte and Soledad Roa on March 28, 1945 in Maasin, capital of Southern Leyte. His father is a Cebuano lawyer, while his mother is a native of Cabadbaran, Agusan, and was a school teacher and a civic leader of Maranao descent. His father used to be mayor of Danao in Cebu. Other relatives has also served political positions in Cebu and Davao Provinces. The Dutertes finally settled in the Davao Region in 1951, where Vicente as a lawyer engaged in private practice, while Soledad taught in public schools as a teacher, but later retired as a supervisor in 1952 when her lawyer-husband entered politics there. She left government service owing to the demands of being a wife of an active politician. As wife of the governor, she became familiar with the social and economic problems of the people, especially out-of-school youth, women, children and the disabled.
Duterte went to Laboon Elementary School in Maasin, for a year, then spent his remaining elementary days at the Santa Ana Elementary School in Davao City, where he graduated in 1956. He finished his secondary education at the Holy Cross Academy of Digos after being expelled twice from previous schools due to misconduct. He went to college at the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila, where graduated in 1968 with a degree in the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He also obtained a law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972. In the same year, he passed the bar exam. Duterte eventually became Special Counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City from 1977-1979; Fourth Assistant City Prosecutor from 1979-1981; Third Assistant City Prosecutor from 1981-1983; and Second Assistant City Prosecutor from 1983-1986.
He has siblings named Benjamin “Bong” Duterte, a one-term city councilor of Davao between 1992 to 1995; younger sister Jocelyn Duterte, who lost in several attempts to grab a Third District city council seat as well as for the mayor post in 2001; and Blue Boy Duterte who ran and lost in the First District congressional race in 1998.
Digong is also an avid fan of big bikes, and loathes luxury cars. He once owned a second-hand Harley Davidson and currently a Yamaha Virago. Once a habitual smoker, he eventually quit after a doctor’s suggestion due to health concerns. He is also openly supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and is an enthusiastic reader of Robert Ludlum and Sidney Sheldon novels.
He has his own local show in Davao City called Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa (“From the Masses, For the Masses”) aired as a blocktimer on ABS-CBN Davao. He is also a member of Lex Talionis Fraternitas, a fraternity based in the San Beda College of Law and the Ateneo de Davao University.
He was once married to Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman. She is a flight attendant from Davao City and is of German American descent with roots as well in Tuburan, Cebu. Together, they have three children: Paolo (“Pulong”), Sara (“Inday Sara”) and Sebastian (“Bastê”). Paolo and Sara ventured into politics while Baste concentrated on business. Duterte’s father Vicente died in 1968, while his mother Soledad died on February 4, 2012, at the age of 95. Zimmerman was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2015.
Duterte has been publicly very open about his infidelity and philandering while married to Zimmerman and cited it as the reason for his failed first marriage when asked in interviews. In 1998, Zimmerman filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig to nullify her marriage. Duterte never appeared in court and did not contest Zimmerman’s petition. Two years later, the court decided in her favor, ending the 27-year marriage of Duterte and Zimmerman. Duterte and Zimmerman have been on good terms in recent years with Zimmerman stating, “Yes, he [Rodrigo] is really a very good leader. That is all he is. But when it comes to family, he is not capable of taking care of it.” In 2001, Zimmerman eventually ran for a seat on the city council but lost. Duterte and Zimmerman are said to have patched things up and appear to be civil to each other, 15 years after their marriage was declared null and void. Zimmerman eventually joined the campaign trail for Duterte’s presidential candidacy in early 2016 called Byaheng Du30 in which she would travel by bus to major cities together with her daughter Sara and a number of delegates.
Despite his status being listed as “single” in the Davao City government website, Duterte is currently living with his common-law wife Cieleto “Honeylet” Avanceña, a nurse, with whom he has one daughter named Veronica (“Kitty”). Duterte has eight grandchildren, half of whom are Muslims and the other half Christian.
Despite being raised as a communicant of the Catholic Church, on January 19, 2016, while meeting with businessmen in Binondo, Manila, he clarified that he has not attended Mass for quite some time already since he deemed it incompatible with his mayoral responsibilities: “(Kung) pakinggan ko ‘yang Ten Commandments, pati ‘yong pari diyan, wala na akong magagawa sa pagka-mayor ko” (“If I listened to the Ten Commandments or to the priests, I would not be able to do anything as a mayor”). Duterte then clarified that he had not abandoned God, only “forfeited” his religion for the meantime.
Duterte personally disclosed that he suffers from Buerger’s Disease, an inflammation of blood vessels mostly in the limbs that has been traced to previous habitual smoking, contrary to earlier rumors of throat cancer.
Credits to: Wikipedia