DAVAO CITY — With just four days to go before formally assuming office as the 16th President of the Philippines on Thursday, outgoing Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is set to attend Monday’s flag-raising ceremony here to bid goodbye to City Hall workers.
For 22 years, Duterte served as mayor and vice mayor (one term) of this city. He was also congressman for one term.
Duterte normally attends flag ceremony on special occasions during his term as mayor but leaves the day-to-day routine of City Hall to his City Administrator, currently held by Melchor Quitain or the Chief of Staff.
The past few days, Quitain and some department heads have been preparing for Monday’s flag rites, even refurbishing the Osmeña Park and repainting the Durian Fountain here.
For two nine-year terms, Duterte holds office every Wednesday to see people visiting his office to seek assistance and attends to courtesy visits. He sometimes hold meetings with department heads in complete attendance or separately if he wants to have a quick-fix of a problem.
He spends more time visiting people in the countryside, hearing their problems, addressing barangay disputes or even celebrating with people during the barangay fiesta or founding anniversary, or meeting police and military officials deployed in New People’s Army (NPA) strongholds.
While he does not micro manage, Duterte sees to it that his directives are implemented and followed. He holds the office chiefs accountable if complaints reach him.
Duterte’s frugality is not new to City Hall employees. He has a standing order to hold simple Christmas parties in their respective offices.
But where he is frugal in parties, Duterte gives due benefits for the employees such as bonuses over and above the year-end or Christmas bonus for as long as it is allowed by the Commission on Audits (COA). He has also helped employees get out of loan-sharks or 5/6 by initially providing P3 million seed money for the City Employees Cooperative. The fund is used to initially buy-out loans so that employees would only pay to the Cooperative at a very minimal interest.
Duterte has also strengthened relations with employees with the signing of the Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) similar to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between private employers and labor unions. Recently, regular employees received their signing bonuses.
Duterte also exerted effort to fix problems on the employees’ contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). There is also the Child Minding Center for the working parents at City Hall.
As mayor, Duterte has initiated programs and projects that restored law and order and helped the city’s economy boom over the last 20 years.
Davao City is the only local government unit with deputy mayors representing the different Muslim tribes and lumads.
Duterte instituted this practice since his first term as mayor, seeing to it that Muslims and lumads are represented in the governance.
The city government has also instituted the Madrasah Schools for Muslim children, Lingap Para sa Mahirap program, scholarship for poor but deserving students, feeding program. Duterte likewise sends Muslims to Mecca pilgrimage.
Among the significant projects that Duterte has embarked are the Emergency Central 911 and the Public Safety and Security Center, a state-of-the art emergency communications and response center which links the residents needing assistance with the emergency resources of the government like the police, firefighters, medical workers, and rescue services.
The Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC) started during his mayorship, giving importance to marketing and offering incentives to investors and create jobs for Davaoenos. DCIPC was a product of the work of the socioeconomic team he formed in the early 1990s.
To date, the city is known for its success in the effective implementation of the Anti-Smoking Law, the Women Development Code, Children’s Code, Speed Limit, ban on mining and the local reproductive ordinance for which the city is slowly gaining success in the No Scalpel Vasectomy.
Duterte is leaving the city to his daughter, Mayor-elect Sara Duterte, who already took her oath of office last June 22. Sara served as mayor for one term when Duterte was vice mayor. Lilian Mellejor/ PNA/ northboundasia.com