Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Myth, Truth, and Politics


Name: Leslie J. Batallones

Column name: Hues and Waters


If you think that only beauty pageant candidates love to speak about world peace, then think again. Political candidates are now making their way to bring home the crown by talking about peace and the myth behind it. Beauty tilt tells us what peace is; politics and governance should show it.

Davao City is reputed to be one of the world’s safest cities in the world, according to the crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com. The city added another feather on its cap by receiving the Presidential Award for the Most Child-Friendly Highly Urbanized City for the second time in two years. The reputation of Davao City has reached a global scale as a product of good governance and strong political will.

As the country approaches the 2016 election, political candidates are now throwing data and records to prove their claims. Recently, Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) cited figures from the Philippine National Police showing that Davao recorded 18,119 crime incidents in 2014. He said that Davao had the fourth highest crime rate nationwide. Roxas sparked the rants of Davaoeños when he said that it’s a ‘myth’ that Davao is as peaceful as it’s touted to be.

In his statement, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte rebutted that it’s not for Roxas to say it. He added that it’s the Davaoeños who can tell Davao’s peaceful image. The Davao City Police Office clarified that only 6,548 incidents or 36% can be attributed to index crime, or those committed against persons and properties.

I can feel the reality of the exchange of records tussling in my head. I once had the same dilemma when I refused to study in Davao because I used to believe that nothing was true about the ‘model of peace and security in there’.  The change, however, came when I had my summer internship in Davao. The peace and security then became real to me. There is an atmosphere and mindset change as I can walk late at night without the fear of getting mugged.People recognize the million investment of the Davao government on HD CCTV cameras in 70-80 percent of the major roads within the city proper, the 24/7 police visibility in the city and the working 911 Emergency hotline and many more.

We are concerned about safety because of the threats of criminality.  But, there is no magic wand in solving criminality and there’s no such thing as zero crime rate. Even in the eyes of strangers, Davao has remained a city that sets standards for justice and safety. People in there value discipline and authority. Many people rant about the issue. Some choose to express a ‘hugot line’.  Those who are keeping Davao safe would say to the claims : For many years I proved my worth in your life, you still end up saying that all I did was a myth and nothing was true. Well, those who are claiming the mythical peace would say, “Stop claiming you love me coz I never experienced it anyway.”

On a serious note, Duterte’s response to Roxas was another claim.

“You claim to have graduated from Wharton School of Economics. That is a myth — you did not graduate sa Wharton School Of Economics, Mr. Roxas. Wala doon sa listahan na naka-kumpleto ka ng 4 years o 5 years for a degree,” the mayor said.

Peace is not just a record or data; it must be an experience- a life turning experience that would boost capacity building for a nation and the government.

Since election is coming, many more strategies and tactics will come.  And the common way to build an image is to destroy someone’s image. I hope people will realize that when we build an image, we build a nation. We destroy an image, we destroy our own nation.

I respect the claims of those who haven’t experienced the ‘peace’ that Davao is recognized for.  I think they just have to have a time of discovering, proving whether the ‘myth claim’ is true or just another myth.  Again,  the ground becomes real to us if we’re standing on it. The people have the final say and judgment.~



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