Sendong’s fury punches out
Sara Punch as 2011 top story
BY ROGER M. BALANZA & JOANNA C. BALANZA
The year-end mass slaughter of more than 1000 people by killer floods triggered by Typhoon Sendong is The Durian Post “Top Story for 2011.”
Coming out second is the Sara Punch, a series of punches dished out by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to the face of court Sheriff Abe Andres for junking her plea to stay rhe demolition of more than 200 urban poor shanties middle of the year in Agdao District.
Flash floods from Sendong which lashed Mindanao in December and killed more than 1000 people in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City is the worst natural disaster that visited the southern island.
Ironically, the disastrous flood as a heart-rending element in the tragic Sendong saga was also a factor in the Sara Punch brouhaha.
Mayor Duterte in late July cut short attending to a relief operation for victims of a killer flood that wept through five barangays in Davao City’s southern district killing more than 30 people and displacing 10,000, and faced up with Andres at the scene of the court-ordered demolition in Soliman Street kilometers away from the flood scene.
She punched Andres several times when he refused to stay the demolition over her plea she be given two hours to abort the court order.
The mayoral punches were captured on video by local television news crews, played up on local and national television networks, radio and newspapers and gained worldwide prominence with its airing on CNN and other international televsion networks.
The assault gained both anger and praise: Urban poor groups hailed Mayor Duterte as a hero of the homeless poor, while critics filed charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, the Supreme Court (Mayor Duterte is a lawyer), and with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The proposed AboitizPower coal-fired power plant, seeking permits from the Davao City local government, landed third as top story, with the loud opposition it triggered among environmentalist groups.
The nearly year-long emotional public debate–marked by rallies and pickets, and wide media coverage—over its potential threat to people and environment ended in an executive-legislative squabble over an approved ordinance—the last local requirement the Aboitiz-owned power firm needed to proceed with the construction of the plant—that converted its 24-hectare plant site in Binugao, Toril in Davao City into a heavy-industrial zone.
The Davao City Council overrode a veto of the ordinance by Mayor Sara Duterte putting a cap to the long debate over the power plant strongly supported by Mayor
Rodrigo Duterte, who said the AboitizPower project responds to future power crisis and Davao City’s own need for stable power supply to ensure more floods of investors coming to the city.
Unranked but pervading as a major story throughout year 2011 is Davao City’s continuing march to progress as Mindanao’s premier city, with projections the city would emerge as among the Top 5 Billionaire Cities in the country in 2011, with its annual revenue hovering near the P5 billion mark. the biggest for a local government unit in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Mayor Inday Sara during signing ceremony with SGV
The fourth top story of the year is an early warning political device that gave hints to the 2013 local elections.
Davao City Mayor Zara Duterte said she is not keen about a reelection in 2013, saying after her first term she and hubby llawyer Manases Carpio are planning to have a baby.
She is also not running for Congress in the First District.
But her brother councilor Paolo Duterte may be facing Congressman Karlo Nograles in the First District congressional race in 2013.
With her premature political retirement, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte staging a comeback in 2013 to get the mayoral post he held for 18 years.
In the fifth slot is Davao City landing 87th in the list of top 200 fastest-growing cities and urban centers in the world based on a survey by the London-based City Mayors’ Foundation.