Lessons Learned

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who find it really hard to work when there are other loud conversations going on around me. Just take that sentence for example, in a quiet room, I could have shot that off in nothing flat. But because I’m in a public cafe where there’s this lady with volume control issues, completing even simple thoughts can become really difficult.

I was actually planning to write about something else but now my mind is just full of thoughts of foreign-owned fishing firms and holding companies and a million other things that I have absolutely no interest in. Its like having a real loud version of those Facebook status updates about people you vaguely know and absolutely do not care about. Unfortunately I can neither unfollow nor report her.

But more than just being annoying, people should realize that broadcasting yourself like that in public can be a huge security risk. Especially when what you’re discussing has to do with contracts, legal strategies, matters of law, case details, etc. Call me paranoid, but these conversations appear to be more suited within the privacy of a boardroom and not among a coffee shop-full of complete strangers. 

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Anyway, moving on to other stuff, I was going over the full published results of the most recent Pulse Asia survey and I must say it offers a lot of interesting reading into some pretty nuanced possibilities come election time next year. While the media chose to highlight the obvious headline grabbers in the presidential race, there’s actually a lot more to the survey than the surge of Sen. Grace Poe past VP Binay.

Among the aspects of the report that I found very educational were the entries for “senatorial fill-up rates” and “number of senatorial preferences,” which showed that, a little less than a year before election day, “Filipinos are already naming an average of 10 (out of a maximum of 12) of their preferred senatorial candidates and most of them (60%) have a complete slate for the May 2016 senatorial elections.”

By cross-referencing these results with the list of fourteen probable winning candidates, we can reasonably expect that majority of the names found in one will also be in the other. Which means that for the senatoriables beyond the statistical cut-off limit, the pool of voters to draw from suddenly becomes significantly smaller, and consequently, so do their chances of winning.

Also, for these possible senatorial also-rans, a more careful look at the breakdown of the survey results might be in order so as to determine the adjustments they need to make in their current campaign strategies, such as…

First, forget about targeting the sixty-percent that the survey already identifies as having an almost complete senate slate picked out. These were the previously low lying fruits that the twelve most popular candidates easily picked for themselves. Having already made their decisions, the competitive cost of trying to change these voters’ minds will be prohibitive for anyone else except those already within striking distance (i.e. numbers thirteen and fourteen). In other words, they are not worth the effort, and your resources might be better used elsewhere. 

Second, focus your efforts on the forty-percent whose ballots still have room for three, four, or five more candidates. Forget about NCR, whose voters only have two slots left open, and go for the Ilocanos and Kapangpangans with their six and four slots. As a whole, if we go by total registered voters who actually voted in the previous elections, this forty percent should number about sixteen million votes. Enough to get the top spot in any election. Unfortunately these are the harder to reach voters. The ones that require a little more patience, perseverance, and presence. But for those willing to put in the work, the rewards will be worth it.

Third, look at the detailed breakdown of the voters and segmentize your campaign messaging to those blocks who have not yet made their complete selection. For example, based on age, candidates should  have a better chance of getting in the senatorial list of those between fifty-five to sixty-four years old (fill rate fifty-three percent) over the eighteen to twenty-four year olds (fill rate sixty-nine percent). Advertising that targets older audiences, maybe those that talk about senior citizen benefits, or evoke feelings that resonate stronger among more mature voters, might do the trick. Create micro-messages for the Ilongos, the Muslims, and those with little or no formal education. With digital and online media at an all time high, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to make individual pitches to whatever population niche campaigns need to reach.

Fourth, awareness is less important than credibility. If you compare the figures for Lacson (# 1) and Pacquiao(# 12), you can see that while the latter has a higher “awareness” level at ninety-nine percent, the former’s formidable advantage in the “voting for” category puts him way ahead in the rankings. Based on this, trailing candidates must rely less on advertising to boost name recall, and work harder to build relationships that engender trust among the voters.

Lastly, and in this is somewhat connected with the previous suggestion, mass media advertising may not be the most cost effective means to reach the kind of fragmented audience that non-leading candidates need to attract. According to the survey, sixty-four percent of the voters in urban areas – the same market that is primarily served by the national media outlets – have already made up their minds on who to vote for. This means that the hundreds of millions spent on ads targeting this particular market has a less than forty percent chance of actually convincing anyone to vote for candidates who are not already on their list. 

 

In addition, while it is true that advertising can be a great way to increase voter awareness, it is even more effective at keeping an already leading candidate ahead of the game. The only way advertising can work for those playing catch up is when they are willing and able to out spend those in the lead by at least a factor of two-to-one. If not, then just imagine a race where you are starting several places down from the leaders. If each time you step on the gas, all the other cars do the same in equal measure, then at the end of the race you would end up exactly in the same spot that you started in – dead last.

Muddying the Waters

As the rains fall on the evergreen slopes of Mt. Apo, it marks the start of a decades-long process that replenishes the aquifers of Davao city. This is an ancient cycle that has, through the centuries, painstakingly filled the underground caverns in and around the city with hundreds of millions of liters of what is reputed to be one of the world’s cleanest drinking water.

For generations of Davaoeños this bounty has made it almost a matter of gospel that when they turn on the tap, water will flow. As a result, few people regard the possibility that this may not always be the case – that someday the wells may run dry. 

But given that the recharge rate for this extremely important resource is excruciatingly slow, we have to wake up to the fact that, with regard to the future of our water supply, we may be taking too much for granted. And further, that the responsible management of our water system, particularly in extraction and utilization, should be a primary concern for the officials and residents of the city

The other day I had the opportunity to attend a meeting that was aimed at addressing precisely these same issues. The occasion was a presentation made by representatives of Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. and the Davao City Water District to the members of the city council regarding their proposed 12-billion peso Bulk Water Supply project. Specifically, the proponents are asking that they be granted an exemption from certain provisions of the city’s Watershed Protection ordinance.

According to the petitioners, an approval from the council of their request would help pave the way for the improvement of the city’s water supply and distribution systems, and will provide an additional “300 million liters per day” for the use of the residents of our growing metropolis.

The Apo Agua project, which is a joint-venture between Aboitiz Energy Ventures and JVA Construction Company, came about after the DCWD accepted their “unsolicited proposal” to provide an alternate surface-based water supply system for Davao. Taking as its source the Tamugan River, the project is designed to alleviate the anticipated long-term water supply problems facing the city and significantly improve DCWD’s ability to service “those existing areas currently experiencing low water pressure and intermittent supply.”

By way of illustrating the imminent water scarcity situation facing Davao, the DCWD provided conclusive scientific evidence that at the current production levels of their fifty seven pumping stations, and factoring in the city’s  growth rate and the increasing volume of water consumption by its residents, there will inevitably be a shortfall in supply resulting from the exhaustion of the city’s aquifers. Additionally, as if running out of water isn’t bad enough, DCWD also warns that we can look forward to such other unpleasantries as being poisoned from saltwater intrusion and being swallowed by giant sinkholes.

Bottom line is, at the rate that it is going, DCWD may already be likened to a mining company that, instead of extracting gold or coal from the ground, pumps non-renewable water into our homes. But with the Apo Agua project in place, it is hoped – at least by those who propose it – that the long term security of the city’s water supply will be protected by affording DCWD the opportunity “to greatly reduce its reliance on groundwater deep-wells thereby allowing the aquifers to recharge.”

By utilizing the water flowing in the Tamugan river, we will be able to tap into a system that is vastly superior in terms of its ability to replenish what the city consumes. And instead of being filled in drips and drops, any one of Davao’s nightly deluges can easily refill the water supply that we rely on in our daily activities.

But even as the wisdom and timeliness of the project was made clear, there are still a few nagging questions that remain in my mind. Foremost of which is the feeling that, had Apo Agua not come providentially along, DCWD seemed content to sit on its ass and not do anything to solve the problem on its own. This sense of foreboding is borne out by several factors, not the least of which was the lack of any indication during their presentation that they had anything else, other than preserving the status quo, in the works. 

Their doom and gloom predictions aside, DCWD never mentioned any mitigating measure they were taking or planned to take other than digging even more production wells. In fairness, maybe they just hadn’t heard of Einstein’s classic definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result every time.” 

But knowing what they do know, it is hard to understand why they hadn’t come up with their own alternate system? Or why they didn’t do anything sooner? And even why they so publicly picked a fight with Aboitiz about this same issue, only to end up piggy-backing on their erstwhile opponent’s money just to get out of the dry well that they themselves dug?

These duplicitous dealings of DCWD brings back a similar sense from the campaign they waged in 2004 and 2005 against aerial spraying, were it was alleged that the fungicides used in banana plantations could make its way past the layers-upon-layers of rock and soil and into the water table. Back then, DCWD was among those spearheading the movement to ban any sort of commercial activity within the Davao watershed area in order to prevent what they said would be an environmental disaster.

Fast-forward to 2015, and now you have them back at the city council – the same body that they lobbied hard to pass an ordinance that basically wiped out an entire industry and thousands of jobs in the name of protecting the very same watershed that they now want to violate. Talk about chutzpa! But then again, what do you expect from an organization that disingenuously promotes their product as being among the cleanest in the world, but conveniently neglects to add that that only applies for water that is still trapped in the bowels of Mt. Apo, beyond the reach of their decidedly less than world-class pipes and distribution network.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one hundred percent in favor of the project in so far as it can deliver what its proponents promise. My issue here is with the annoying habit of DCWD of always crying wolf but then not doing anything constructive to protect the sheep. And given their record, I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed that the presence of partners with proven track records of good corporate governance and superb customer service will finally help them overcome the inertia of mediocrity that this city has had to suffer from them for as long as the time it takes rainwater to fill those aquifers.

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that I worked with organizations opposed to the aerial spraying ban, and was part of a group that studied and analyzed the relevant issues in order to present facts that were contrary to the allegations being made against the agricultural practices of banana and pineapple plantations.

Mending Mindanao

I was scanning the news today and I ran across a story about the government of Canada’s Php 32,000,000 aid for Mindanao, which according to Canadian Ambassador will be used to “ensure that the conflict-affected families in the region will have access to improved temporary shelter conditions, access to safe drinking water, improved access to sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as improved nutrition.” (http://asianjournal.com/news/canada-gives-additional-php-32-million-in-humanitarian-assistance-to-mindanao/)

While I am sure the effort will be well appreciated by the beneficiaries of the program, I was a bit surprised that assistance for education was not included in the list of projects that will be funded from this donation.

Just to be clear, this is not at all meant to look this Canadian gift horse in the mouth. God knows we need as much horses (and more than a few king’s men) to put this humpty-dumpty country back together again. Rather, mine is just an observation – with maybe a touch of wishful thinking – about the need to go deeper than portable shelters and potable water if we truly want to maintain the peace in this part of the Philippines.

In this regard, I believe that education is the community’s most powerful tool in ensuring that whatever gains made from the recent signing of the Peace Agreement will not be lost in just one generation.

This is particularly acute in those areas where, previous to the current thawing of relations between the government and their erstwhile adversaries, the only lessons being learned were those that were taught from the barrel of a gun. The decades-long span of the conflict ensured that a whole generation of Mindanaoans have known no other reality than things blowing up around them.

What I find even more curious about the oversight is that in almost all western societies post-trauma psychological intervention has become a standard application for any sort of violent experience. Especially those involving minors.

In this light, it seems obvious that there would be a strong need for some sort of processing mechanism to be set-up by the govenment and aid agencies to help those who lived through the ordeal cope with whatever demons they hold inside. This is where I believe a strong re-education program would have been invaluable in transforming the socio-cultural landscape of these areas. The children would be the most fertile ground for planting the seeds of long-term peace and stability.

Of course this isn’t to say that we do not need to physically rebuild communities damaged or destroyed by the conflict, but we also have to pay close attention to the underlying state of mind of the people. There is an opportunity here – and a lesson – mending Mindanao will take a lifetime, require Herculean efforts, and demand saint-like dedication and sacrifice from all those involved. Cosmetic solutions and templated ideas will not be enough, we need to innovate.

Admittedly we are just in the early stages of getting started – we haven’t even reached the starting line yet – but things do seem to be looking up. The good news is that there is much hope that the momentum will continue and the promise of this land and its people will finally be delivered.

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As a footnote, lest my sentiment about what Canada has done for Mindanao be misunderstood, I would like to say that I subscribe to the First Responder principle that “imperfect care given is always better than perfect care withheld.” In other words, thank you Canada.

What the Heck is Peace (and Why are Some People Willing to go War to get it?)

What do you think of when you read the numbers 0921, 0917, 0918? If this was say 1991, would those same numbers have the same meaning? Would they even have any meaning at all? Or how about the colors red, yellow, and green beside the railroad track, would it be just as easy to decipher if you found it posted on the beach instead? Would you still stop, look, and listen.

These are just a few examples of what we take for granted everyday. Simple tasks that have one critical thing in common – they illustrate the fact that meaning exists only when there is context. Wether it is a series of numbers or a set of colors, these would be nothing but random expressions without an understanding of the environment in which it takes place. That there is no meaning without context is a foundational principle of communications, one worth taking to heart and committing to the mind.

For people who fail to appreciate this complex relationship, life is often full of mystery and superstition. A confusing stream of people, places, and events that may or may not be related yet whose impact is strongly felt in their own existence. It can become a minefield of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and ultimately, conflict. This failure, left unchecked, eventually leads to bigger and more complicated problems as it creates its own unbalanced reality that in cycle becomes the foundation of other misunderstandings.

A classic example of this is the flight of Oedipus from his predestined fate only to end up fulfilling it simply because he failed to recognize the flaw in the original premise – that predictions of the future are a load of crap.

It is now this same kind of self-fulfilling prophecy that is tragically at work for those know-nothing nay-sayers to the BBL and the particular path of peace that it prescribes. 

Before going on with what I have to say, let me first draw a clear distinction between those people who have read the BBL and understand not just what stands for but also the context in which it was created, and those who bitch for the sake of bitching without even bothering to browse through bill. My beef is exclusively with the latter and would welcome any meaningful discourse with the former.

To continue, the problems of Mindanao is a complex mix of culture, religion, social inequality, poverty, and a Pandora’s box-full of other issues. Years of public disagreements and not-so-private wars have done nothing to ease the tensions among all the parties involved. Add to this the mishandling of several well-meaning but ill-prepared peace negotiators from the exalted and enlightened halls of the Capital and what you have is a potent mix of highly flammable emotions from a bunch of very excitable people with guns. Lots of guns.

The situation in these here southern part of the Philippines, as you can see, is clearly not what one may call… “ideal.” Unless of course you’re one of those who delight in pulling off the wings of flies and torturing small animals for fun, in which case I’m sure this is all just a great f—ing party for you. But for the rest of us sane folks, war – the idea of it, the actual waging of it, or anything to do with it – is not a good thing. 

Which is why there are many who are for peace. 

Not “at all cost,” but if the price is reasonable then why not. The questions is, what price are we willing to pay for peace? What exactly is “reasonable” and for whom? Is there really a common ground from where we can deal fairly, equally, and equitably with all parties? 

Personally, I am still on the fence on this one. Recalling what I mentioned earlier, the problem is just too complex and the issues too diverse for any one solution to work. There is “right” on both sides, and also much that is wrong in either to make this a simple choice between black-or-white. The complete context of the problem still escapes me, and so meaning and the ultimate solution is likewise hard to come by.

But even with my lack of complete understanding, one thing that is abundantly clear to me is that living in willful or malicious ignorance is an even worse situation to be in. Not knowing should be a cause to search, not to attack blindly. And yet this is precisely what many of our countrymen stand on, an aggressively contrarian view based on nothing more than an incomplete picture – or worse a deliberate distortion – of the Mindanao landscape.

Since Mamasapano, a place that 99.99 percent of Filipinos would not have been able to locate on a map if their lives depended on it, everyone and his uncle is now an expert in Mindanao. People who otherwise would be happily preoccupied with the latest twists and turns in the love life of Agnes and that guy with the blond hair now suddenly feel the urge to flood the comments section with such gems as “Philippines for the Filipinos. Do not give Mindanao to the Muslims,” and “BBL is create biggest problem.”

On its own these demonstrations of “wit and wisdom” aren’t really a problem, in fact for those who believe in the infallibility of the democratic process these should even be a cause for celebration. A triumph for the amateur pundits and their digital soap box, dispensing insult and approbation with equal disregard to the facts.

No, the real bad guys here are those who deliberately play on the fears of others – fears based on ignorance and misunderstanding – in order to pursue a political agenda that has nothing to do with a genuine desire to have peace. People like Sen. Alan Cayetano, whose ambition-fueled tirades against the BBL would otherwise be acceptable if only it wasn’t so transparently self-serving.

And while this deliberate politicization of the BBL by Cayetano and his team is a mere exercise in campaign propaganda, there are real costs on the ground – on the people who have to dodge the bombs and bullets to eke out a marginal living from an already miserable life. 

Just to be clear, on question of whether or not the BBL is the silver bullet that will end all the conflicts, I don’t believe it is. And anyone who argues that it will is just as deluded as Cayetano. The BBL is just one more in the millions of steps we have taken, and the millions more  that we may have to take to keep this journey towards peace going. We have to have faith in the process, even if we don’t in the personalities involved. 

 

In the end the BBL or any other measure we take in the name of peace is only worth as much as the effort we put into making it work. We each hold a piece of the puzzle that completes the picture. And it is only when we are able to come together and share our hopes and dreams that the jumbled images of peace, of war, of Mindanao, becomes clear and understandable.

Doctor Who?

Elections are fast approaching and the talk of who to pick for the various positions are starting to heat up. Debates on the relative merits of experience, integrity, honesty and a host of other virtues (not to mention vices) now fill the news cycles and drive the chatter in social media. 

In all of this, one thing that might be useful to remember is that candidates are just like specialist doctors, you pick the one that fits your specific disease. If you have cancer, you go to an oncologist. If you’re pregnant, a gynecologist. And if you break your leg, you see someone trained in orthopedics. A bad choice can easily lead to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, maybe even death. 

So following the same logic, choosing a candidate should be a two step process. First, a voter needs to identify what the biggest problem the country is facing. Is there a breakdown of law and order, are we being threatened by an external enemy, do we need to get more investments coming into the economy? In other words, what is the country “sick” of. And second, basing on the answer to the first question, who is the most qualified to solve the problem and “cure the sickness.” 

In the book “The Marketing of the President,” which offers many excellent insights into the emergence and growth of the use of marketing principles in political campaigns, author Bruce Newman argues that a candidate is not just a bar of soap to be sold to unwitting voters. Rather he is a “service provider and offers a service to his consumers, the voters… By taking note that the candidate is really a service provider, the distinction between campaigning and governing becomes clearer. The actual delivery of a service that a candidate offers to the voter does not occur until he begins to govern.”

This clarification of what a candidate truly represents is especially important in the Philippine setting where politicians routinely get elected based on promises that they have absolutely no intention of fulfilling. It has become so bad that it’s really  only a matter of time (and an ambitious lawyer) before Filipino voters file a class action lawsuit for false advertising against these elected officials.

Going back to the analogy of candidates as doctors, at the rate they are going, all of our political leaders would be liable for malpractice. Imagine going to a dentist’s clinic expecting to have your tooth pulled and coming out with a new pair of eyeglasses. It is simply unimaginable how such a large and prominent group of people, so-called leaders no less, can routinely lie to so many people and not only get away with it, but get rich while they doing so.

But then again there are always at least two sides to every issue. In this case, not all the blame can be placed with the candidate. After all, one cannot fault the crocodile for biting your hand off if you were stupid enough to put it in its mouth. People who blindly accept everything that oozes out of the mouth of crooked candidates have to bear their fair share of the blame for making our political system the mess that it is today.

Looking towards the 2016 elections, we can see that choosing the right candidate really requires an understanding of the many complex problems that needs to be solved. Corruption, despite the best efforts of this administration, continues to exist. China is literally camping at our doorsteps. Millions of poor Filipinos still face the direst choices every day. 

And for us in Mindanao, there is the added complication of searching for the right leader who would be able to rightly place us in our proper context within the larger national picture. A candidate who would fix the country while at the same time reminding the war-mongers and carpet-baggers in the capital that Mindanawons are just as good, if not better, than they are.

This is not going to be easy. Nothing worth doing is. Sadly not everyone with the desire to vote wisely is equipped with the intellect to do so. Those who do therefore have the bigger task of educating the rest that the Philippines is like a patient afflicted with many ailments and most the doctors claiming they can cure it are quacks. The trick is to know which one isn’t.

Duterte of Davao

I was talking to a bunch of out of town visitors the other day and, as what seems to be happening more and more frequently of late, our discussion eventually turned to Davao’s most famous attraction – Mayor Rody Duterte. Because of the extensive media coverage about his  possible run at the presidency, the mayor – who was not exactly unknown before all this frenzy began – has become a bigger political star in the eyes of my guests – and the rest of the country.

After blowing through the usual topics of curiosity – from the his alleged involvement with the DDS and occasional moonlighting as a taxi driver, to the city’s renowned campaigns against drug pushers, smokers, and drivers who feel the need to speed beyond 30 KPH – we eventually got to the question that was foremost in their minds: Will Duterte run for President?

Not having had the opportunity to talk to the mayor himself, I will not claim to have a definitive answer. But after picking the brains of those whose social and political orbits revolve much closer to the alleged candidate, I would estimate that fully ninety-nine percent of the people involved in the Duterte for President movement believe he is going to run. The only caveat is that, since the remaining one percent represents the still noncommittal opinion of the mayor, majority rule definitely does not apply.

So the next question is, why hasn’t he announced his decision – whatever it is? 

There are several possibilities floating around regarding this. Some think that the mayor isn’t really serious about running and is only using it as a way to leverage concessions from the other presidential wannabes. Then there are those who feel that he is merely waiting for enough funding support before he commits to the campaign. Some speculate that he is a trojan horse for another candidate, for whom he would throw his support and captured votes at the right time. And still there are others who believe that the mayor is telling the truth when he says that he has no plans to run, and all this is simply being driven by the people around him.

As for myself, my guess is that he is holding back for the same reasons that kept Floyd Mayweather from taking on Pacquiao five years ago. Just like Money May, Mayor Duterte also has an unbeaten streak to protect. And as tempting as the presidency is, I cannot imagine that it is an easy choice to risk for the mere possibility of winning. It has to be a certainty. In line with this, if the numbers continue to become as favorable as the latest polls, I expect the chances of his running will increase as well.

Now presuming he does go for it, what are his chances of winning? Seriously.

Again basing on the most recent surveys, if Poe runs, everyone can go home and we might just as well hand her the keys to the palace. But since this is not yet a given and the vice presidency still remains an option for her, the possibility of a three cornered fight between Duterte, Binay, and Roxas for president still looms in the horizon. If this happens, I see Mayor Rody as having the inside track in becoming a minority president like Ramos in 1992. 

The recent acrimonious history between Poe and Binay, which observers credit for the decline in the VP’s popularity, could mean the majority of those who would have voted for her as president would now go for either Roxas or Duterte. In this case, owing to his populist, celebrity-like image, Duterte should have the upper hand particularly in the areas of Mindanao and in the class D and E groups. It is also for this same reason that Binay can expect a further decline in support in favor of Duterte as the contrast between their candidacies become more and more pronounced. These developments should be enough for the mayor to come out with a slim margin of victory over Roxas, with Binay coming in third.

Once the issue of his running is settled, the next big question for the mayor would be his choice for vice president. While there may be many who are imminently qualified for this position, I feel that the best course would be for him to run solo and simply endorsing Poe for the position. By supporting her, the mayor not only benefits from Poe’s strong pull among those sectors where he is relatively weak, but also avoids the distractions of having to carry a less popular running mate that does not contribute anything positive to the campaign.

The last big question that remains, and one that goes directly into his ability to govern effectively after he wins, is wether or not he can do for the country what he has done for Davao? 

The answer to this is crucial to his inherent attractiveness to the masses, and the point on which his whole candidacy turns. Just like Binay’s ganito kami sa Makati pitch, if Duterte can convince the rest of the country that the Davao experience can be replicated in every barangay, town, city, and province he should be a shoe in as the next resident of Malacanang. 

But then this must be balanced against the inevitable attacks against his human rights records and persistent rumors connecting him with the summary executions of criminals in Davao. With De Lima, Rosales, and other hounds baying at his heels, it is entirely possible that they would be able to convince a significant enough portion of the population to reject the Duterte Doctrine of Discipline, and thereby pose a serious obstacle to his candidacy. 

In this regard, his campaigners should not be led to a false sense of security owing to the unquestioning love of this city for its mayor. Davao after all is Davao, and its unique historical experience stemming from the lawlessness of the 1980’s makes it predisposed to Duterte’s style of governance. This is something that his campaign handlers should be always be cognizant of, especially when presenting the Davao model to other communities for example and emulation. 

Because while Davaoeños have had the benefit of decades to grow into what we are now, trying to force the same on the rest of the Philippines in a shorter period of time would be like cooking those proverbial crabs by dumping them into an already boiling pot of water – expect a lot of trashing around.

Finally, there are those who say that the presidency is a matter of destiny. If this is true, then it is truly an honor to be a Davaoeño at this time when the fate of one of our own can lift the whole community – and the country – to heights yet unreached.