Davao City, already recognised as one of the world’s safest cities to live in, added another feather on its cap by winning recently the Presidential Award for the Most Child-Friendly Highly Urbanised City.
The Award, which is based on programs and projects initiated by local government units which aim to protect the rights of children, placed Davao City on top of the other bigger and richer cities, including Manila, Quezon City, Makati and Cebu.
Under the leadership of Mayor Rody Duterte, Davao City pioneered projects aimed at helping and protecting children, including a halfway house for young cancer patients not only from Davao City but the rest of Mindanao.
The House of Hope, a special project of Duterte, provides shelter, counselling, and financial support to children suffering from cancer who are seeking treatment at the Southern Philippines Medical Centre (SPMC).
Duterte spends Christmas and other special holidays, including his birthday with the cancer patients and is known to personally buy toys for the children.
Duterte’s concern for children’s welfare is legendary, including a tough anti-drugs and anti-crime campaign which he said is aimed at protecting the youth of the city.
Davao City has one of the most outstanding drug rehabilitation facilities for the youth while the drive against big time drug dealers has been relentless and sometimes even described by critics as brutal.
Recently, Duterte ordered the arrest of the parents of three children whom he found sleeping in the streets while making the rounds of the city at dawn.
Duterte, 70, once said that one of his most important duties is to make sure that the children of his city are safe from drugs and crime because they will be the leaders of the future.
While he is known as a pistol-packing and tough-talking mayor feared by criminals, Duterte has a soft spot for children and was seen crying in public several times during his visits to the young cancer patients.