Below is the excerpts of comments from some people in Davao to the opinion and previous post i wrote entitled: “Humiliating the vagrants, street children”, and was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
Last January 19, 2006, a letter entitled â€œPromoting tourism – Davaoâ€™s wayâ€� was published in the Opinion Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The letter was written by Danilo A. Reyes of the Asian Human Rights Commission.
Reyes opened his letter with the following quote: â€œRound them up and put them elsewhere, away from public sight.â€� According to Reyes, this was the solution of Davao City officials to get rid of vagrants and street children in time for the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) that is being held in Davao City. According to Reyes the vagrants and street children were also humiliated because he quotes that they were seen as â€œpossible accessories to the criminals and terrorists.â€�
I was outraged by Reyesâ€™ allegations. First because he did not even bother to mention the name of the official(s) that he was quoting. Second because I know for a fact that his allegations are false.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly reiterated that the city, in no way, will try to mask the poverty of its residents, not even during the ATF. Sunstar Davao quoted Duterte as saying, â€œTourists should be allowed to view Davao as a poor community that is struggling to be rich someday, because thatâ€™s what we are.â€� He has turned down suggestions that squatters be demolished or be blocked from the view of the ATF delegates.
Moreover, vagrants and street children were merely to seek the aid of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) in order to find shelter. Shelter and assistance are being given to vagrants and street children in the city even before preparations for ATF began. The drive to provide shelter and assistance to vagrants and street children have just been intensified.
Contrary to what Reyes believes, Davao City has promoted tourism, not by masking its ills and poverty. Rather, we promote it by showing the beauty and riches that abound our city.
To view our exchanges on this subject, you can view the author’s web: