By CHE PALICTE
DAVAO CITY – Vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello is no longer welcome here.
The City Council declared Belo persona non grata during its regular session on Tuesday over his baseless allegation of corruption in the city, which he said he wanted to “cleanse.”
In a resolution, the City Council said Bello imputed that Davao City is the drug center of the south under the control of a member of a Duterte family.
“The City Council denounces the unbecoming character of Walden Bello, particularly his act of employing malicious tirades. Davao City’s exemplary reputation is the hard work not only of the local government but of every honest, disciplined, responsible Dabawenyo. As we condemn Walden Bello’s acts, we also vehemently declare that he is not welcome to enter the borders, and the entire territorial jurisdiction of Davao City,” the resolution said.
Contrary to Bello’s accusations, the resolution noted that Davao City has received 118 awards and citations in recognition of the initiatives of the local government in various facets of governance and service from 2016 to 2021.
“Davao City, in truth and fact, has become a safer and more developed place with top-notch infrastructure, economic and social programs. Walden Bello’s publicized malicious statements discredit the efforts and commitment of hardworking city government employees who are behind all the successes and recognitions received by the city,” the resolution added.
Multiple awards, citations
The city has also been recognized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the Seal of Good Local Governance and the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping over the years.
The National Competitiveness Council and the Department of Trade and Industry named Davao City the 4th Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City in the 2021 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index—the highest ranking of any city outside the National Capital Region.
In May 2018, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry awarded Davao City with a Special Recognition as one of the Most Peaceful and Safest Cities in Southeast Asia.
In the same year, the Manila Times also recognized Davao City as a Philippine Top Model City and the Safe Haven Award, in recognition of its efforts to maintain peace and order for the good of its constituents.
The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) was recognized as the Best City Police Office for 2017, and in 2020 by the Philippine National Police.
DCPO’s peace and order programs led to a decrease in the city’s total index crime rate—from 13 in 2016 to 1.9 in 2021.
The Davao City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) was also commended by DILG during its 2017 ADAC Performance Audit, for its exemplary efforts on the anti-drug campaign. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency also awarded the city as an Outstanding Local Government Unit – City Level for its untiring support to the anti-drug campaign in Region 11 in 2019.
“Bello’s persistent attacks will debilitate Davao City’s economic recovery efforts, especially in promoting the city’s tourism and investment opportunities to the local and international scene, and ultimately affect Davao City’s reputable governance to the public in general,” the City Council said.
Since the start of the election campaign, Bello has been a known critic of fellow vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte.
Bello blasted Mayor Sara for not attending debates, mentioning the city as the “drug center’ of the southern part of the country, and recently cited the city’s coastal road and the modernization of the public utility vehicles as proof of corruption.
On Monday, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) referred to Bello as a “threat” to the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
“HNP takes this information seriously as a regional party with incumbent elected official members who want to strengthen our coordination with law enforcement agencies fighting the proliferation of prohibited drugs,” said the HNP, chaired by Mayor Sara Duterte.
Earlier, former city information officer Jefry Tupas filed cyber libel charges against Bello, who accused him in an online press conference of being a drug dealer, and claiming that he was caught “snorting PHP1.5 million worth of drugs.”
PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY