Davao boosts health, sports
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco () - April 9, 2011 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines  – The administration of this southern charter city is building on the gains made by the previous executives and using sports and health services delivery as a means of strengthening the city and its citizens.

Mayor Sara Duterte is adding to the improvements on peace and order and an improved business environment fostered by her father, former mayor (and now vice-mayor) Rodrigo Duterte, using technology to improve the government’s response to the needs of their constituents.

“Our programs are hinged on technology and knowledge management,” the former vice-mayor told The STAR. “IBM has created a system wherein we’ve simplified the process for availing of health services and others by reducing it to one step. Now, people no longer need to line up and carry their forms from one place to another for signatures. Now, they just have to sit down and fill up a form and the computer reads all their information.”

Duterte, also a lawyer like her father, was working in the Supreme Court when she was invited to run for vice-mayor in 2007, since the elder Duterte was having problems dealing with political opponents who would be running for the top two positions in the city. Forced to return to Davao when her mother got ill, “Inday Sara” was persuaded to run, and she and her father took the top two posts, unopposed. Last year, she ran for the post of the city’s chief executive. One of the first things she did was finish the three-year improvement of Davao City Recreation Center (Almendras Gym), installing air-conditioning into the old facility for the first time.

Mayor Sara’s strength has been her devotion to barangay empowerment, a key contributor to her success and popularity in the city, which has 182 barangays and is one of the largest cities in the world. She has made sure that no one is left out, and even has a caravan of mobile services like various registrations and even online business license application, so that nobody is left out.

“It’s all about time management,” explains Duterte. “I make sure that aside from the annual visit of our caravan, I am able to give each barangay some attention. The complaint of citizens against the government is that response is either slow or none. We want to eliminate that.”

Duterte also sees the value of increasing the city’s tourism revenue, since the money will be flowing into the city from outside, and will not really require major spending by the local government. One of their big projects is institutionalizing the “Summer Fest”, which will run from April 29 to May 29. It will be a long celebration of sports and music, which will draw in tourists outside of the traditional Kadayawan Festival which has been the city’s trademark. Davao already has a stable income in terms of its known cash crops like mangoes, bananas, pineapples and cacao. Now, its intends to increase its attractiveness to investors through sports tourism, as well.

“The project is called, and our tagline is “Have you done Davao?”” reveals Jason Magnaye of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center. “This is one way to promote everything the city has to offer.”

“We are emphasizing the experience,” Duterte elaborates. “Hiking, climbing Mount Apo, the beaches and other things to do in the city. There are a lot of things the city can offer people who enjoy sports.”

Duterte also has an ace in the hole with former Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez, now the mayor’s consultant on national affairs, education and sports. Ramirez is using the good will he built over nine years of service in the PSC to help build Davao City’s first sports complex, which will service all of Mindanao. The well-loved educator will be traveling to the Victorian Institute of Sports in Melbourne, Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, and the New South Wales Institute of Sports in Sydney to renew ties with sports educators there, do research, and bring in support for the new project.

“Sir Butch is working on a big project called the Mindanao Institute of Sports with (Smart communications chair) Mr. Manny Pangilinan, because it will be a very big investment that will help athletes all over Mindanao and the Philippines.” the unassuming Duterte explains.

The complex, which will sit on at least five hectares of donated land 15 kilometers outside the city proper, will be a live-out type of training and educational facility which Ramirez sees as the legacy he and the current administration will leave Davao. He once put together a plan for a sports complex years ago, but a dispute over the ownership of the land for that project prevented it from becoming a reality.

Now, however, the next three years will see Davao take the lead in breeding sports champions for the country.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with