Crime-busting Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is offering the Filipino people the kind of lifestyle he has achieved for the ordinary residents of his home turf, Davao City. Addressing Rotary Club Manila, Duterte told Filipino and foreign businessmen on January 14, 2016, that Davao City was his “Exhibit A,” showcasing quality of life imperatives he would like to spread equitably once he is elected president of the Philippines.
His platform calling for a vigorous attack on crime, corruption, and red tape in government has a compassionate flipside to put adequate food on everyone’s table through improved agricultural production. The crime-busting mayor has repeatedly posed the question of how Philippine food production would meet the demands of 150 million Filipinos 20 years from now.
According to Rappler, he pointed to his 22-year crime-busting record as contributing to the well-being of Davao City residents who give him a high satisfaction rating for the peace and various comforts they enjoy. Mayor Duterte explained that there was a method to what opponents call his “madness.”
“Had I not been very strict in Davao City, it wouldn’t be as it is now. I have to say, ‘You guys, there in Mindanao, stop, so we can invite the investors to develop’…but if there is always a taxation by the N.P.A.s, and employees are kidnapped, we could not expect good investment to come in.”
During his years as a crime-busting icon, Mayor Duterte has consistently kept Davao up in the rankings of “most competitive” city indices. Along with its high-profile status, Davao has also been named one of the “Top 20 Most Liveable Cities in Asia.”
Because of his nagging insistence that his crime-busting has left a positive impact on the residents of Davao, pundits have kept tabs on the numbers statisticians put out to support the mayor’s claims.
Database Numbeo, utilizing user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, did a comparative analysis of both Manila and Davao for January 2016. Here are the cost-of-living numbers the study arrived at for the Philippine capital and center of commerce versus the crime-busting mayor’s obscure hometown to the south.
“Rent Prices in Manila are 206.21% higher than in Davao. Restaurant Prices in Manila are 52.38% higher than in Davao. Groceries Prices in Manila are 13.51% higher than in Davao.”
Another online source, Expatistan, which offers a collaborative international cost-of-living index, came to a similar conclusion. The crime-busting mayor’s Davao shows a cost advantage over Manila in the following categories.
“Housing in Davao (Philippines) is 56% cheaper than in Manila (Philippines), clothes 9%, transportation 19%, personal care 17%, entertainment 35%.”
Not openly discussed is pagpag, the Filipino equivalent of food harvested from dumpster diving. This creation of Manila slum-dwellers essentially consists of fast-food restaurant leavings scavenged from garbage dumps. “Pagpag” meaning “to shake off,” refers to shaking the dirt off discarded food, a nightmarish situation the crime-busting Mayor does not want for Davao. Pagpag could be eaten by the finder or fried in hot oil for sale to the more desperate.
To counter critics who accuse him of proposing strong arm tactics to achieve Davao-style relief for the whole country, the crime-busting mayor said he would not declare martial law. He explained his “strongman” type of rule alternative.
“We have had a taste of that and it was disastrous. I would just be a hardliner in crime, and I have promised the people, if elected, that I would stop it, suppress it – drugs, crime and corruption.”
While crime-busting in Davao City, Duterte also worked on perfecting an investor-friendly environment. He limited the processing of government documents, such as business permits, to 72 hours. Any delays would have to be explained to the Office of the Mayor.
The bottom-line for crime-busting Mayor Duterte if he becomes the next Philippine president, is that his Davao-style governance puts food on the table for the struggling Filipino.
[Photo via Facebook]