Dutertes start three more years in power

While mouthing these lines, his youngest daughter Veronica, 3, pulled his hands towards the direction of the audience were the rest of his family sat in an open-air clearing in front of the City Hall's doorsteps.

Four generations of the Duterte family, including his aging mother Soledad, daughter Sara, and grandchildren through son Paulo, attended his inauguration for another three years as the highest official of the city.

Two hours later, at the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlunsod, Sara Duterte, the mayor’s daughter, took her oath as the city's first woman vice mayor in well-anticipated and formal rites.

Duterte, 62, was a state prosecutor before becoming mayor in 1988. His father, Vicente, was governor of the then undivided province of Davao.

The father and daughter tandem, the first in the city’s history, vowed continuity of progress. The mayor said "peace and security" shall be the cornerstone of development, and the vice mayor stressed her priority will be "transparency and accountability" of the city council.

Duterte is on his sixth term as mayor. His third term ends in 2010, triggering speculations he is grooming Sara to be his successor.

He stressed he will keep peace and security as his administration's priority vowing that the campaign against lawless elements, an area he is known for, will continue to be "relentless and uncompromising”.

At one point in his speech he said "ours is a city that is not fit for the weak of the heart."

He recalled how he led the city from "turbulent and uncertain times" in the past. "Together, we did what we needed to do," he said.

At the Grand Men Seng Hotel later during lunch, Duterte admitted to the public that he brought food to the rebel New People's Army whenever he visited them to negotiate for local peace.


"We put order in the streets. In a sustained deliberate manner, we instilled fear in the hearts of criminals and restored the courage of law-abiding residents to stand up and be counted," he said illustrating how
Davao took care of business and was made livable.

He cited accolades conferred on the city, such as being named as one of "Asia's most livable cities," "the most competitive metro city," "the cleanest and greenest," among others.

He also cited achievements of local legislators, the business community and the police.

He said individually and collectively, the Dabawenyos, the city government, and local organizations and entities were recognized for excellence and exemplary performance.

"We must have done something right along the way," he said.

Duterte spoke of his administration's focus on fueling the economy, too.

He cited six policy statements to sustain growth, including taking advantage and benefit from advances in technology; ensuring access to information, empowering workers for more employability, supporting and encouraging small and medium enterprises, creating livelihood opportunities, and cutting government intervention in business at all times.

"We must build on our natural competitive strength. We must bring every parcel of land in the production cycle," he said.

The mayor touched on themes about the family in the more emotional portions of his speech citing ideals that will benefit the children.

He said the city must ensure the best possible upbringing of children, including their education, and the nurturing needed to prepare them to make choices.

But he used the subject on preparing the children for their future in presenting his family's tradition of government service.

"We must ensure that when their time comes, they are ready to take the cudgels of leadership. Our success as leaders can best be measured if when our time is past, the younger leaders who will be coming after us are ready, willing, and able to assume the mantle of leadership.”

He then told the audience about his father's service and his daughter's oath-taking later in the morning. He said it will be a month of parental pride saying he has full confidence in her capability and dedication to serve.

Sara told Mindanao Times Friday he wasn't inspired to run for office, but was forced to do so after her father asked her.

Duterte said the youth is his inspiration, adding they give him strength to do what is right, face difficult situations, win over difficulties, and make proper choices as a leader.

But he also told reporters in an interview later he would continue to oppose the
Juvenile Justice Law, which bars authorities from jailing children in conflict with the law.

He said it abets criminality and endangers the children’s future.

Time magazine called Duterte "The Punisher" reportedly for allowing young offenders to be preyed upon by the so-called Davao Death Squad, a band of anti-crime vigilantes believed to be operating in the city.

Duterte is presidential crisis manager for Regions 11 and 12 and is also chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council.

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