Sara Duterte: Davao City will remain a dangerous place for criminals

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews/28 June) —  About two hours after being sworn into office as the first woman mayor of this city, Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio warned, in what seemed like an echo of her father’s commitment, that the city “will remain a dangerous place for criminals.”

The younger Duterte said she will continue her father’s vow to maintain peace and order but denied she was given any advice by her father.

“He did not give me any advice on this. Ingnan nya lang ko na ikaw na bahala,” (he just told me it’s up to you), she told reporters in a press conference in her temporary office/

“Expect the City Mayor’s Office to deal with criminals accordingly,” she said.

Outgoing Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly warned in public that criminals, especially drug pushers, kidnappers and rapists are legitimate targets  of assassination.

In an inquiry by the Commission on Human Rights on March 30 last year, Duterte told CHR chair Leila de Lima that he made a promise when he assumed as mayor in 1988 “to make the city the most dangerous place for criminals.”

He said there are killings in the city, “yes, but summary (killings)? I don’t know.”

The elder Duterte repeatedly said there are “no state-sponsored killings in the city” and that he would take “full responsibility for the failure to stop the killings.”

“I take full responsibility for it,” said Duterte, who will take his oath of office as vice mayor an hour before noon of June 30.

Like her father, Ms Duterte said not all killings in the city are related to extra-judicial killings (EJK) since the police also could hardly determine if the killing is EJK.

More than 800 suspected criminals have been killed in this city and have been blamed on the so-called “Davao Death Squad.”

First 100 days

Ms Duterte said that on the first day of her office, she will coordinate the executive agenda with the legislative body. “I will also take a look on the HR (human resource) since many of them (personnel) are co-terminous. But we will extend them for one month for the transition period,” she stressed.

Other priorities in the first 100 days also include the resolution of  complaints against the Southern Philippines Medical Center (formerly Davao Medical Center) particularly on complaints against the performance of city-employed nurses. “We have received complaints that  these nurses are not following orders of  their superiors,” she said.

She also bared  a plan to spend on promotions outside the city to draw investors and tourists into the city. The city government will have to work with travel agencies, she added.

No infrastructure

Asked if the city will invest on a city college, hospitals and sports complex, she said no.

“The city can afford to build a hospital, but it cannot afford to run and manage it. The same with college and sports complex. The most we can do is to put up a city wing at Davao Medical Center,”  she said.

Instead, the city government will invest on government centers like a convention hall that can be used by the people, she said.

Asked if she was willing to reconcile with their political opponents,  the younger Duterte kept mum and instead stressed that the city government can stand without the congressional fund. “Although their congressional fund can help, it’s only minimal and most of these are on infrastructure.”

Ms Duterte was apparently referring to First District Representative-elect Karlo Alexei Nograles, son of House Speaker Prospero Nograles. The elder Nograles lost to the younger Duterte by at least 200,000 votes.

Ms Duterte will assume her post as mayor after noon of June 30, after her father and the councilors shall have taken their oath. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)