BY ROGER M. BALANZA
You are not welcome in Davao City.
Davao City councilors last week made lepers of two members of the House of Representatives by declaring them in a resolution as “persona non grata.”
The object of the hate resolution were party-list representatives Pastor Jun Alcover of ANAD, and Retired General Jovito Palparan of BANTAY.
The Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIP), Davao City Police Office (DCPO), and Task Force Davao (TFD), during a council session, denied claims by Palparan and Alcover that Davao City is not a safe place to live in.
Persona non grata means “an unwelcome person.”
Councilor Nilo Abellera in a privilege speech lambasted Alcover and Palparan, who declared the city unsafe.
The verbal assault, said Abellera, condemned the city as a troubled city and would drive away investors.
In the session, Task Force Davao deputy chief Lieutenant Colonel Jim Niembra, DCPO chief Senior Superintendent Rene Aspera, and Davao City Investment Promotions Center chief Bobby Teo belied the talks about the city being unsafe.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s clear now that Davao City is peaceful. No one can compete with the city in terms of law enforcement performance in keeping peace,” said the city councilors, after the resource persons delivered their speeches denying the claims of Alcover and Palparan.
Aspera told the city councilors that recent high-profile criminal acts were isolated incidents and did not affect the city’s record on peace and order. The speculation due to a shooting incident in a mall that there is deterioration of peace and order is only a perception, he said.
“Even if I’ve only started 35 days as officer in charge of DCPO I can say that Davao City is a safe place,” Aspera said.
“(There were 3 incidents of bomb explosion; 2 in 2003, and 1 in 2005 with 3 incidents of recovered unexploded bombs. Cotabato has the highest incident at 55 with 44 explosions and 11 recovered bombs followed by north Cotabato and Kidapawan and Maguindanao province with 25,” Niembra told city councilors to assure that Davao City is safer.
“The entry of various foreign and local investments in the city is an indication that the economic situation of Davao City is stable. We attribute this to the peaceful climate and dynamism of the local economy which help maintained Davao City’s competitive position among cities in the country and in Asia,” Teo also told city councilors in his report on the city’s viability as an investors haven.