EVEN before Davao became the much-talked about city because of President Rodrigo Roa Deterte’s presidency, Davao is already a bustling city that serves as the main trade, commerce and industry hub of Mindanao and the regional center of Davao Region. Change continues in Davao for the better under the watch of Mayor Sara Duterte.
With a total land area of 2,444 square kilometers, the city is the largest in the country in terms of land area. Geographically, Davao City is grouped with the province of Davao del Sur but is governed independently from it. The city is divided into three congressional districts, which are subdivided into 11 administrative districts with a total of 182 barangays.
In pursuit of its commitment to become the leading and role model city of the country, Davao government puts its acts together led by Mayor Sara who simply envisions that above all the developments and economic opportunities coming in Davao, her constituents should have gainful employment, decent housing, educated and healthy children, able to eat three meals a day, and to be safe and secured in their daily activities.
“Mayor Sara is very serious in implementing her programs that’s why she created the Biyaheng Do30 slogan that means 30 major projects under the 10 priority programs to be implemented in the next three years,” says Jefry Tupas, city information officer, who was exclusively interviewed by The Manila Times in Davao.
Mayor Sara’s priority programs include poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, solid waste management, health, education, agriculture, tourism, transportation planning and traffic management, peace and order and disaster risk reduction and mitigation.
Meanwhile, Davao City Councilor Bernard Al-ag reports that they are very grateful with the changes happening now in Davao, especially after President Duterte won.
“We are surprised with all the attention being given to Davao. A lot of investors are scrambling to go to Davao to invest. All big developers from Manila are now here. It’s good that we already have Comprehensive Land Using Planning or Zoning Ordinance in place way back in the 1990s. We already zone where are the residential or commercial land that can help investors in locating which kind of land they want to buy,”Al-ag explains.
Al-ag also adds that they also created Davao City Investment and Promotion System, a one-stop shop office for investors headed now by Lemuel Ortonio.
Al-ag is also happy to report that Davao City government, in line with the project of Mayor Sara is trying to make its services closer to the people by creating mini city halls in every district of Davao. “Every district will have a building where all the services are available so that the people need not go to the main city hall. It’s a one-stop shop building for convenient transactions,” says Al-ag
Al-ag became the acting mayor when Mayor Sara and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte took a leave of absence after President Duterte took his office on June to July 22, 2016.
On the other hand, Tourism Council Regina Tecson reports that “Based on hotel room occupancy alone in 2016 we had 1.84million guests. We’ve noticed an increase in tourism related establishments like restaurants, accommodations and the like. Davaoeños are stepping up their game by also improving on their services and products. We’re gearing for more arrivals and events and with Mayor Sara rallying us together, we are more than ready meet these opportunities. We are getting ready for our summer activities _the Visit Davao Fun Sale and of course our very own Kadayawan Festival in August.”
Tecson also adds that the strength of Davao City is its private sector.
“They have always been active and have in fact spearheaded various tourism programs in the city like the DAvao MICE Desk wherein conference venues, hotels, congress organizers, restaurants, resorts, souvenir shops, industry associations and all other allied services have joined together in providing incentives for those who will hold their MICE in Davao; the Visit Davao Fun Sale is also an aggrupation of various tourism establishments like hotels, tour operators, tour guides, destinations and allied services in giving special discounts as well as various activities in and around the city for visitors to enjoy during the summer months; Chinatown Council is also rolling their sleeves in planning for the beautification and revitalization of its Chinatown district. The city tourism operations office on the other hand will be working on Tourism Master Plan with the cooperation of all tourism stakeholders. Other projects in the offing are the Sta Ana Wharf “Promenade” Project, community based tourism with our 11 ethnolinguistic tribes and various arts and culture and sports oriented activities,” concludes Tecson.
Highlights of the Araw ng Davao
Parada Davaoeños . There will be eight floats depicting the timeline of Davao’s development and progress from the time of Datu Bago to present day Davao.
There are over 250 organizations/schools/establishments that are joining the parade and they are expecting over 300 on the Parade Day itself on March16.
Mutya ng Davao. Search for Davao’s Ambassadress of Goodwill.
Duyog Dabaw, a Celebration of Strength. A concert by Davaoeños for everyone. The concert will also start with cultural dances and songs progressing until present day contemporary Davao music. Some of the artists who will be performing are Kalumon Dance Ensemble, Mebuyan, Popong Landeros, Mad Dog Blues Drivers, Neil Llanes, Bayang Barrios and the Niliyagan Band, Joey Ayala. The concert will cap the March 16 araw celebrations
Davaoeño Ako. It’s a teach-in for elementary public school students about the history of Davao and why we have to be proud that we are Dabawenyos. Tour guides from GUIDE Davao are doing the rounds with Museo Davaoeño and the City Tourism Operations Office
Pasundayag sa Rizal Park are nightly cultural shows at the Rizal Park during weekends with participation from the Chinese Schools, Japanese schools, the Indonesian Consulate, the Indian students from the Davao Medical School, Pasidungog by the University of Immaculate Conception and the Security Forces.