IN NEWSSTANDS MONDAY, DECEMBER 19
BY ROGER BALANZA
The Sara Punch, not the fruit cocktail but the celebrated punches to the face of a court sheriff, could have helped Mayor Sara Duterte win an award from the Philippine Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP) as champion of the homeless urban poor.
Duterte received the award from PCUP, a presidential body, during the celebration of its 25th anniversary at the Urban Poor Solidarity Week in Malacañang on December 9.
Duterte was loudly applauded by the audience when she received the award from President Benigno Aquino III.
The award cited Duterte for her programs for the homeless poor.
The mayor stirred a controversy middle of this year when she punched several times to the face Regional Trial Court Abe Andres for refusing to heed her plea to stop demoltion of more than 200 urban poor shanties in Soliman in Agdao District.
The punch captured on video by local television newscrews was widely played up in international and national television networks.
While the punch drew praise from the urban poor sector, critics slammed Duterte for putting the law into her hands.
Duterte had pleaded to Andres, who was supervising a court-ordered demolition on a privately-owned land, to stop the demoltion as she planned to go to the court to stay the order.
The punching incident earned for Duterte, a lawyer, a disbarment case at the Supreme Court and an administrative rap at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The punch also inspired a group of women to invent the Sara Punch, a cocktail of Davao City’s exotic fruits, that was introduced to visitors during the Kadayawan celebration in August.
The punches also led supporters of Mayor Duterte to declare her as the “New Pambansang Kamao,” in what was seen as a challenge to the unofficial title given to boxing hero Manny Pacquiao by his fans.
Dabawenyos held a massive rally in support of the mayor as charges were filed against her, and decked the city with ribbons of green, the mayor’s official color, and large streamers barking their support.
Davao City Councilor Arnolfo Cabling said Mayor Duterte deserved the award, that should is also deserved by now Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Twenty year as mayor, Vice Mayor Duterte had restablished a socialized housing program that is now being continued by his daughter.
Cabling, chair of the council committee on housing, said the local government this year is implementing a socialized housing program backed by local funds, a P200 million subsidy from the National Housing Authority (NHA) initiated by Vice President Jejomar Binay and a P48 million fund contributed by high-end housing developers in compliance to the 20 percent Housing Balance provision of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA).
The provision requires high-end housing subdivisions to allocate to socialized housing an equivalent of 20 percent of its rawland or development cost.
Cabling said an agreement he initiated with the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) is in full steam, with the government housing agency chipping in P50 million for purchase of resetlement areas this year and another P50 million next year.