Subscribe Now October 30, 2012 at 06:52am

Duterte changed all that and it was not easy. His iron fist was not without enemies but he went his own path. Soon the people of Davao City saw the changes. THE news articles about Davao City Vice-Mayor Rudy Duterte’s bounty for the head (literally) of Ryan Yu, a suspected car theft ring leader in Mindanao, have me smiling.

Just imagine this: “Two million pesos to those who can capture him alive,” then “Another P2 million for those who can capture him dead,” said Duterte.

The no-nonsense politician added, “and if you can hand over to me his head, I will shell out an additional P1 million in reward.”

That’s a cool five million pesos for anyone who can present Yu’s head to the vice-mayor of Davao City in a freezer.

Now if I were Ryan Yu, I would either hop on the next plane out of Davao City or better yet, I would leave Mindanao altogether. Apparently he has done that as reports say he may have left for abroad.

I know, I know. The human rights activists will be ranting and raving against Duterte and perhaps even some of my readers will comment how cruel I am to condone such actions.

There will be talks of due process and the rights of the individual since, at the moment, Yu is a suspected ring leader of an alleged car theft operation. The courts will have to prove his innocence or guilt.

But then, when a warehouse containing 14 stolen vehicles belongs unmistakably to Mr. Yum isn’t that a bit too much more than just circumstantial evidence?

I just have to admit that Rodrigo Duterte is a man I admire because he gets things done. He always means what he says and says what he means. This is not a particularly common thing for most politicians but with Duterte, his word has become his honor.

I remember how Davao City used to be such a crime-ridden and insurgent-infested area. The insurgents and criminals operated with impunity so much so that mass murders became common place.

But Duterte changed all that and it was not easy. His iron fist was not without enemies but he went his own path.

Soon the people of Davao City saw the changes. There were fewer and fewer crimes and the insurgents were driven out of the city.

Today, people walk the streets of Davao City in peace. I went there a few years ago and when I returned some weeks ago, I was truly surprised at how bustling this city has become. In fact, I even toyed with the idea of retiring there.

A therapist who massaged me had two other clients before me and when she arrived it was already almost 12 a.m. When she finished past one I asked how she would get home and she answered she would use the public jeep. She was actually unconcerned and said it is so safe in Davao City even at that time. In fact, she quipped, even the drug addicts stay home and don’t loiter in the streets.

There are other cities and municipalities who would probably say that Duterte’s style is not for them and I agree. Democracy is, of course, alive and well in the Philippines and some may be turned off by his “management policy.”

But this style seems to work very well for Davao City and I can see the benefits. No one seems to be wary of walking the streets at night and people are happy and accommodating.

Oh but I just hate how unfriendly Davao City is to smokers. But at least when I go take an evening smoke outside in the streets, I just know I won’t get mugged.


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