In Davao City, Year 2014 came and passed truly as the Year of the Horse: Exciting happenings galloped by bringing a cacophony of big events that farther reinforced the local slogan that Life is Here.
Here, you miss a lot, because life is fast, there are so many things to do and enjoy that you cannot cope up with.
But there are people and events that made encompassing impacts on the Dabawenyos and the city. Nobody misses them because they are part of them.
We have chosen five.
DUTERTE FOR PRESIDENT. Undoubtedly the biggest story of the year, the idea of a presidential run in 2016 for Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is a political phenomenon that has enamored and mesmerized not only the Dabawenyos but the nation as well. From what initially appeared to be a home-grown joke, the Duterte for President movement has gained the support of many people from Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon, no matter that Duterte vehemently denies he is running for President.
In the midst of wayward crimes and bureaucratic kleptocracy, Duterte has emerged as a perfect solution to the country’s ills. His strong will, anti-crime and anti-graft policy and uncompromising energy to instill discipline are valuable credentials of somebody that should be in Malacanang to whip up everybody to toe the line. The Duterte for President idea is a serious business with the 2016 presidential elections a breathe away. A signature campaign has gathered more than 10 million people convincing him to run. In surveys, Duterte stands should-to-shoulder in ranking with top contenders to the Malacanang post. After serving them as Mayor for more than 20 years, Dabawenyos are not selfish and are willing to share their Duterte with the nation; they are supporting the idea of seeing him in Malacanang in 2016.
BUSINESS. Today, Davao City could be the Philippines’ most hottest city in terms of everything. Humans: 2 million souls. Annual Revenue: P3 billion plus. Leadership: 100 plus political will. Crime Index: Near Zero. Public Relations: Friendly. Clean & Green: 100%. But it is in the matter of business that this premier city of Mindanao is on top. Year 2014 was but one of the years that Dabawenyos and their city happily suffered from floods of a different kind: a tsunami of investors coming in to get a share of the action offered by the city’s excellent business atmosphere and wide choice of ventures. Giant agri-business firms have lots of acreage in the city’s 244,000 square kilometers. Housing developers have transformed rural districts into mini-cities with high and low-end projects. Premium lands in the urban business districts have become a rarity, with high-end housing and property developers gobbling what’s left for high-rise buildings, condominiums and malls.
LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT (LRT). The days of the PUJ, taxi and motorcycle-for-hire may be numbered. Davao City could be the first city in Mindanao and the second in the Philippines, to have an LRT. Mayor Duterte is beating to the bush projected future horrendous vehicular traffic woes as the city population continues to rise and as the business boom fires up more economic activities. Mayor Duterte has hired a Korean firm to conduct a study on the LRT, with plans to see the modern transport system zooming around within the decade.
POWER & WATER. With Mindanao regularly suffering from power crisis, Davao City has for decades the Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) to bring the light. With power demand expected to grow, DLPC owner Aboitiz is ensuring that Dabawenyos would not be groping in darkness and that local business not be jeopardized by power lack: Aboitiz’ ThermaSouth is completing a 300MVW coal-fired plant in Davao City; a hydropower plant tapping a river in upland Marilog is in the drawing board. If DLPC is light to the Dabawenyos, the Davao City Water District (DCWD) is life, because water that it provides to the Dabawenyos, is life. Forced by need of the future, DCWD is easing pressure on the Dumoy underground water reservoir where it pumps water, with a new project tapping river run-off: the multi-billion Surface Water Development Project also in Marilog that would provide gravity-moved water to half of the population. This is also still in the drawing board. But there is already assurance that the Davao City of the future would have ample power and water.
NEXT CITY MAYOR. Mayor Duterte says he is leaving City Hall in 2016. There are two guesses why: He is truly retiring or he is running for President in the next election. Whatever, there oughta be a successor. Will it be daughter former Mayor Sara ‘Inday’ Duterte-Carpio or son Vice Mayor Paolo ‘Pulong’ Duterte. The guessing game is alive: Although ‘anointed’ as successor by Duterte, Inday Sara is in love with her private life; Pulong is just waiting in the wings to take on the mantle of leadership. Who will it really be?