Newly elected or reelected officials who have been sworn in as provincial or city chief executives have made inaugural speeches and promised their constituents what to expect of their respective administration upon their assumption to office.
It is more of a confirmation of what they had been swearing to the electorate what they would do all along during their party’s campaign sorties, of which they believe made them won.
Now it is like telling their supporters –‘you gauge me by the promise I am making to you today’ – after having been administered the oath of office.
Take, for instance, the case of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who promised to stamp out corruption in the city by ensuring, first and foremost, that its policemen will be known again as ‘Manila’s finest, not Manila’s worst’ and then improve Manila’s image making it the “gates of heaven” instead of the “gates of hell”, as author Dan Brown described Manila in his latest blockbuster book “Inferno”.
Estrada is out to redeem himself after an unproductive stint as president which eventually saw him ousted, charged and convicted for plunder.
In the local scene, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III promised the Cebuanos an “honest Capitol”, in line with PresidentAquino’s advocacy of “tuwid na daan” (straight path) and contrary to his predecessor’s corrupt ways that ultimately led to her suspension.
On the part of Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, he promised an improved delivery of social services, among a lot of other things. I just hope he finds success in all his visions and missions without the city council clipping his wings every time he tries to soar up.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes promised barangays implement proper solid waste management and continue his road and drainage rehabilitation projects.
Then you have Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza who promised to establish the Lapu-Lapu Youth Affairs Office and continue “re-energizing” the City’s tax collection efforts to make the city more inviting for investors.
But, while these are all well-intentioned and noble promises for the good of the cities and people, what really caught my attention and got me awed was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s fearless, but sensible exhortation after taking his oath, the seventh time he had taken since he was first elected as mayor in 1988.
He was addressing it more to the criminal elements who wanted to try their evil deeds in Davao than to the Davaoweños in attendance.
“Stop or leave,” said Duterte as he prepared to assume the post that his daughter and outgoing mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio held in the last three years.
“If you can’t or will not, you will not survive, you can leave either vertically or horizontally,” Duterte said in a speech after his oath at City Hall Sunday.
“Criminals have no place in the city, except in jails, detention centers, and God forbid, in funeral parlors,” said Duterte, who had since earned the flak from human rights groups and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for statements that seemed to send an implicit message supporting the unsolved killings of alleged criminals in the city.
Duterte warned drug dealers and drug pushers to mend their ways or pack up and leave. He also told minors in conflict with the law, “Don’t waste away your life,” adding that the Juvenile Delinquent Act, “behind which you seek refuge, is now being amended.”
“Do not wait for that to happen, mend your ways for your and your family’s good,” Duterte said.
Now, this is the kind of mayor we all need in big cities. Why?
Just turn on your radios, as I do every morning, and listen to the news programs.
Whether it is in Manila, Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, the crime news fill the airwaves and it is simply sickening as it is despicable.