“What’s the use of these Duterte Stories?” asked a critic when I published my original work and its sequel, More Duterte Stories. “They are just like Bong Revilla stories from Cavite, or Lito Lapid stories from Pampanga, or Binay stories from Makati,” he said. His point was, “How can I believe that these stories of him are true and not merely legendary or biased accounts?”
To a certain extent, I agree that one must read these stories critically, but that holds true for any other story about any other candidate. That does not, however, diminish the value of stories, especially when told through the lens and voice of the general populace. Stories about a person reveal little nuggets about his character and his values — traits I consider important in leadership.
The first two articles contained stories from people I personally know, and so I can vouch for them, but since then, other people have started writing to me and sharing their stories, and so I will put them here and let you be the judge of them (as usual, I have edited the text for grammatical correctness and brevity):
My name is Bert Albano. I am a Consultant for SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation.
Some three years ago, SteelAsia put up the biggest steel bar factory in Mindanao in Davao City. The company’s VP Technical, Engr. Roberto Cola, told me how positively supportive and protective Mayor Duterte was when they were setting up the factory.
Engr. Cola recalls how the mayor told him to report directly to him if anybody from City Hall down to the barangay level make unreasonable demands from them. Having been involved in setting up facilities nationwide in my former job as an officer of another manufacturing conglomerate, this impressed me deeply. In all other places, we had to put up with all sorts of demands from all levels including the ascendant barangay officials. Graft is everywhere except in Davao.
— Alberto Albano
This is not a personal story which involved us dealing with the Mayor himself but a testament to his programs in Davao City, one of which is the Lingap Para Sa Mahirap.
Back in 2010 after the death of my late mother I decided to bring my family to our house in Davao City. As residents of Davao we were entitled to the programs of our City and one of that was the Lingap program. My cousin, Rolando Dangaran, had a severe kidney problem and had to undergo dialysis every week. We enrolled him in the program, and instead of spending thousands, we only had to pay Php400+ every week for his dialysis.
We are also happy about local programs in our barangay where dogs are given rabies vaccines so they don’t turn rabid. We also have curtain treatments to prevent dengue.
These are just few examples of the little things in our city that make Davao a pleasant place to live.
Davao is not perfect. It is not paradise. But it is a Land of Promise. And Mayor Duterte is a promise. A promise of Hope and Change.
— Maria Marnisa Almonte
I’m so proud of this guy who sent me to Davao Doctors College. I am who I am now because of Davao Mayor Rody Duterte, who supported me all throughout my college years. He was the friend of my late father, former Police Chief Inspector Alberto Paras Belimac.
My mother died when I was young and I suspected it was due to politics in our town. I was too young to bear all that pain and I wanted to take revenge, but Mayor Rody and Police Senior Superintendent Sangkula Hussain advised me to focus on my studies and to work hard to reach my life’s ambitions.
I listened to them and my life has been a string of great experiences. I was able to become the youngest Narcotics Agent, assigned to help and advise minor victims of drugs in the Davao region. I gave drug symposiums to different universities and high school campuses from 2002 to 2004.
I was able to work in Singapore and Malaysia. After that, I worked as a Congressional Liaison Officer based in Malapatan under Mayor Alfonso Singcoy. Then I worked as Financial Advisor and translator at the biggest bank in the Middle East – the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
If not for Mayor Duterte, I may already be on the other side of the law. I may not be a successful businessman and banker here in Dubai. Thank you so much, Mayor Duterte, for your trust and confidence in this little boy from Saranggani province. You helped me even if I had no political advantage whatsoever, but you did it out of the goodness of your heart.
— King Belimac
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.