Davao City slashes peace and order budget by P53M

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 October)—Invoking “people-centered governance,” City Hall has reduced by P53 million its peace and order budget this year in favor of much-needed social services.

Mayor Sara Duterte said she reduced the peace and order budget from the city’s general appropriations to augment the development fund, the bulk of which is spent on social services.

“We have allotted 46 percent of the development fund for social development because the first duty of government is individual security and family enhancement,” Duterte said in her state of the city address which summed up what she has done in her first 100 days in office.

She said the city government has proposed a P4.11-billion budget this year. “We have come up with a budget that is fair because it is evenly distributed across the sectors, namely, the elderly and differently-abled, the environment and the women,” she said.

She added the executive department will submit its proposed budget to the city council before the October 15 deadline.

During the first 100 days, the City Social Services and Development Office released an estimated P15 million for families and individuals who suffered from the effects of conflicts as well as manmade and natural disasters, she said.

She also said the city government’s Lingap para sa Mahirap has extended help to over 16,000 people in need of medical and burial assistance.

She said that although the number of dengue cases has been “significantly controlled” due to “heightened public awareness,” the city expects it to surge in December because of the La Nina phenomenon.

Duterte, however, attributed the city’s current situation to the past administration, which “laid down a sturdy foundation for peace and security.”

“It paved the way for Davao to rebuild a favorable environment for business and commerce. It even brought Davao accolades from national and international bodies. We are now reaping its legacy,” Duterte said, referring to the administration of her father, former mayor and now Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

She said it was the last administration’s strong peace and order policy that enabled Davao City to rise from the “turbulent times over two decades ago. ”

Of the total development fund, 16 per cent was earmarked for economic development, with emphasis on investment generation, agriculture and fisheries development, 25 per cent for barangay development and 13 per cent for infrastructure.

But she said that since peace and order still remains the “backbone for all economies,” the city will continue to put premium on peace and order projects. Aside from the advocacy for a drug-free workplace, the city has conducted drug tests for 1,162 police personnel, 319 members of the Task Force Davao, and random testing for the city government plantilla workers.

She said that to boost the current 24.26-percent police solution efficiency, the city has proposed an incentive project that will tap volunteers to assist police works in the last quarter of this year.

“It has been more than a hundred days since your new administration buckled down to work, the job was certainly not easy or simple,” she said. “It was tough choices that can make everybody satisfied but in the end my job is to serve my city and focus on my job as chief executive.” (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)