In the news recently was the 9.4% gross regional development product (GRDP), which was the highest among all the regions in the country for 2014. Significantly, the current rate is more than 3% higher than the 6.1% it posted in 2013, highlighting the region’s strong economic performance on the backs of stellar growth in the service and industry sectors.
At the heart of all this of course is Davao City and the leadership of Mayor Rody Duterte. Unlike other areas in the Philippines where the local government units do not have a clear idea of how they can best serve the community, Davao City has hit on the perfect formula of focusing on public security and safety, and letting the rest take care of itself.
By putting much of the city’s resources on reducing criminality and improving public order, Davao City residents are free to pursue their careers, grow their businesses, and increase their investments without fear of being targeted by criminals. This is the Duterte legacy of Davao. And while critics like DOJ Sec. Leila De Lima continue to harp on his supposed human rights violations, there is strong consensus among Davaoeños that the mayor has done a yeoman’s job of keeping the city on track. Which is more than we can say for De Lima’s stint at the DOJ.
With the booming economy, Davao City is now starting to experience the problems faced by all growing metropolis’. Chief among these is the worsening traffic situation, which is not at all helped by the ludicrous speed limits that we have right now. Having to drive at thirty kilometers per hour wouldn’t be so bad if not for the jeepneys that insist on driving fifteen. For Davao drivers, angst is having a wide open road and the possibility of a speed gun on the horizon.
Another consequence of all these positive economic developments is the rush to construct as many building as possible. Where for years we didn’t even have enough high rises to count with the fingers of one hand, all of a sudden they’re popping up like mushrooms. What seems worrisome though is that a lot of these new buildings are being built in what used to be old riverbeds and swamplands. And given that much of what we now know as downtown used to be part of the coastal plain and/or the riverside, it would really be interesting to see how these structures would stand up to an earthquake.