'Sara Duterte: Her father’s daughter'

'Sara Duterte: Her father’s daughter'


Is Sara Duterte her father’s daughter?

Is she, the country’s newly elected vice president (VP), and Rodrigo Duterte, who ends his presidency today, 30 June, of similar disposition to the point where their thoughts and actions can be one and the same?

Many will say no. In fact, they will argue, Sara went against Rody’s wishes that she run for president after her term as Davao City mayor ended this year.


After months of rumors and speculation, during which Sara flip-flopped — saying, on 9 July 2021, that she was open to running for president and then taking back her word on 9 September, since her father would run for VP, opting instead to seek reelection as Davao City mayor — the 44-year-old lawyer and long-serving public official finally declared, on 13 November, she would seek not the country’s highest post but, rather, the second highest.

It did not sit well with Rody.

But fathers learn to take things in stride. After all, Sara is her unica hija, her only daughter who has brought him pride after getting the biggest number of votes in the May 2022 elections, over 32 million, higher than that of President Bongbong Marcos’ 31 million.

The sight of Sara and Rody embracing onstage at her oath-taking as VP on 19 June in Davao was a sign that all’s well between them.



To push further the idea that father and daughter share the same destiny, consider the following circumstance:

Rody studied law, passed the bar and worked as a prosecutor in Davao before entering politics as officer-in-charge vice mayor appointee of then President Cory Aquino in 1986.

Sara — who said in her VP inaugural speech on 19 June, “My younger self was consumed by a dream to become a doctor,” and finished her pre-med course, BS Respiratory Therapy, in 1999 — shifted to law, passed the bar and worked as a court attorney at the office of Supreme Court Associate Justice Romeo Callejo Sr. before successfully running for Davao City vice mayor in 2007.

Did Sara imagine herself becoming Philippine president one day? Why not, since she has virtually one foot in the door. But then again, will she be ready for such a huge and crucial responsibility, if and when she decides to pursue it?


Feather in her cap

In any case, her achievement as Davao City mayor speaks for itself.

Davao City is almost debt-free, she declared at the end of her list of accomplishments.

Its total assets of P23 billion in 2020 made Davao the eighth richest city in the country.

It has adopted the name of the child abuse victim to its child welfare hotline and assistance program which has “dramatically” reduced the number of child abuse complaints, with no child deaths reported due to abuse and maltreatment.

Sara’s administration was behind the expansion of the coverage of the Lingap Para sa Mahirap program that assisted patients with their hospital bills, plus the one-stop shop medical assistance concept that placed under one roof all national government agencies with services for medical assistance which allowed zero billing for patients.

It was, said Sara, the inspiration for Senator Bong Go’s pet project, the Malasakit Center, which is now part of a law that provides free medicines and free hospitalization bills for indigent patients nationwide.

Davao, which had been a hotbed of insurgency in the 1980s, has benefitted from the peace and security efforts of both administrations of father and daughter.

Sara said her anti-insurgency program provides social and economic support to residents in rebel-influenced villages.

Through the project Peace 911, Sara said, “We regularly brought in government services and private sector initiatives; we opened direct lines from the communities to the Mayor’s Office, built more roads and bridges, empowered residents with various projects and skills trainings, provided a gateway for them to sell their produce and even employed former members of underground mass organizations as peacebuilders to help the local government sustain peace.”

She made the flood monitoring of river systems highly interactive through the installation of cameras as well as sirens in coastal communities.

There’s a TV monitor built along a busy intersection in Ulas, and two more to be installed, which will issue advisories and monitoring during floods and other emergencies.

Other infrastructures built include a Covid-19 laboratory, satellite offices of Lingap centers to allow access to remote villages, a new mental wellness center for the homeless, a cremation facility near a the city’s largest public cemetery, improvement of a remote hospital to its current Level 2 hospital category, and improved holding and drop-in centers for abused children.

There’s likewise the construction of nine additional police stations, investment promotion and tourism buildings, a national museum approved by the National Museum, the preparatory groundwork for a city hospital and a city college, new buildings for City Hall offices, the modernized Agdao Farmers’ Market.



Inclusivity Sara’s goal

In line with inclusivity, Moro and ethnolinguistic tribal groups will benefit from the creation of the Interim Indigenous People’s Affairs Office and the Interim Moro Affairs Office.

As for wiping out the city’s loans, Sara expounded: “Over the years, the city government contracted loans to finance major products for the development of the city. As we continue to implement the projects, we have also been allocating an ample budget every year to diligently pay back our loans.”

From 2016 to 2021, the Davao City government spent P8.2 billion sourced from the Annual Development Fund for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.

More than 3,000 projects were completed, including 1,424 roads, 51 bridges, 180 school buildings, 63 office buildings, 44 barangay halls, 84 health centers, nine police stations, 748 irrigation and canal projects, 172 water systems, 11 electrification projects and 669 other structures.

City Hall partnered with Davao Light and Power Co. for the ongoing replacement of sodium lamps in street posts to the more energy-efficient LED lights, along with the City Underground Cabling project to remove the messy electric wires in electric posts and place them underground.

“Today, the entire stretch of CM Recto Street from corner San Pedro to corner Magsaysay Avenue is free from the messy tangle of wires and cables, with more areas to follow in the coming months,” Sara said.

“This year, we have allocated P46.706 million in the 2022 budget to cover the remaining loan balance and by the end of the first half of the Calendar Year 2022, Davao City will be debt-free.”

As she gears up to serve as VP and Education Secretary, it bears watching how Sara Duterte will add honor and respect to the family name.


 Quoted fully from Mr. Pocholo Concepcion's column

The Daily Tribune

June 30, 2022






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