Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mayor Sara: the new Duterte on the block

Mayor-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio has become one of Davao City’s major attractions, not just because she is the first female mayor of this city of at least one million population, but because she is more than her father’s daughter.

Dabawenyos rarely had a glimpse of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Sara when she was still in High school and even in College. However, some who saw her riding the Big Bike with her father were either intrigued or remained in awe as to how this mestiza (thanks to her German blood courtesy of her mom Elizabeth Zimmerman Duterte) could inherit not only her father’s tough stance but even his passion for Big Bikes.

But that was a long, long time ago, way before Sara Duterte-Carpio became the vice mayor of Davao, with her father as the Mayor. A lot of people thought she was just a shadow of the elder Duterte at the City Council, but the younger Duterte has proven her critics wrong, both in terms of how she handled the Council and how she handled her father.

After almost 24 years of serving the people of Davao City as appointed vice mayor, elected Mayor, elected Congressman and with re-elections in between in both positions, Mayor Rody Duterte has finally passed on the Duterte magic to his daughter Sara. Not that he is leaving her alone yet, since the father and daughter tandem was just proclaimed the vice mayor and mayor of the city respectively,

The Duterte-Duterte team did not only win the May 2010 election but they won it hands down, leaving behind their rivals in the political dust, with 389,465 votes for Sara (versus Prospero Nograles who got 160,225 votes) and an overwhelming 440,030 votes for the elder Duterte.

A few months before the election, Sara Duterte said the computerization and interconnectivity of the important offices (if not all offices actually) in the local government will be given priority if and when she becomes the mayor of the city. And now that she has won, Duterte said her priority remains the same as this will pave the way for faster delivery of services to the people.
“Health, education, peace and order, economics and tourism,” she added when asked about her other priorities as the city’s first female mayor.

The Duterte magic

The Duterte magic is not an urban legend after all as proven by Mayor Sara’s landslide victory in the polls. The magic actually started when her father, who was then a city prosecutor, was appointed vice mayor in 1986 after the Edsa Revolution, under the provisional government of President Corazon Aquino. Defeating interim Mayor Zafiro Respicio in the 1988 mayoralty election was a preview of what’s to become of his future political opponents.

He was re-elected twice as City Mayor between 1992 and 1995 and between 2004 and 2007. His mayoralty posts were only interrupted by his stint in the House of Representative from 1992 to 1998.

There is no doubt that Inday Sara’s (as how friends and even Dabawenyos call her) victory in the previous election as vice mayor came as a result of the Dabawenyo’s affinity with her father. However, no one can deny that Inday Sara’s recent victory in the polls as Mayor of the city is not only because of the (Rody) Duterte magic but it was a result of her performance as the city’s vice mayor.

The younger Duterte’s term as vice mayor was not intrigue-free and was even characterized by a lot of exposes, most of which involved some of the well-known councillors. Add to that her regular disagreements with the Mayor, who she said even challenged her to resign.

But all those controversies only proved that Inday Sara was her own woman and that she can be tough just like her father the mayor. But more than that, she has proven that she is not just her father’s daughter but a public servant with her own decisions and principles and those do not have to coincide with what the mayor believes in.

Fortunately for her, she has won the Dabawenyos’ heart hands down, with or without her rebellious streaks. And now, it is safe to say that Sara is indeed the next Duterte to wield the Duterte magic in the palm of her hands.

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