Lifting of martial law will boost Davao City economy – Sara

DAVAO CITY – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Tuesday, December 10, said the decision of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, to end martial law in the island of Mindanao was a welcome development that could prove to be beneficial for the economy of this city.

She said that the termination of the island-wide martial rule on December 31, 2019, would attract more foreign tourists and investors to the city.

Her pronouncement came even as the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) said that the number of tourists – both local and foreign – coming to the city had steadily increased over the years.

Prior to the declaration of martial law in 2017, the CTOO said there was only an average of 1.7 million tourists visiting the city. By 2018, the figure rose to more than 2 million.

As for investments, data from the Board of Investments (BOI) showed that in 2018, investors had pledged P16.2 billion for Davao City, way more than the P5 billion in 2017. It was not indicated though how much of the 2018 investment pledges came from foreign investors, but the number of businesses in the city also rose to 41,292 establishments in 2018 from 40,499 in 2017.

The mayor said the declaration of martial law had negatively affected the city when foreign governments issued travel bans – including Canada. She said the travel bans made tourists and investors apprehensive about coming.

“There is a negative connotation in the international community when it comes to martial law. Through the lifting, by the end of the month, our standing in the international community will improve,” she said.

Sara said she did not see any problem with local investments.

“But in the international community, the declaration of martial law and travel ban coming from their governments really affected us,” she said.

However, even though martial law in Mindanao would lapse by the end of the month, Sara said she wanted the Philippine National Police to continue suspending the Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) for a year.

The City Council had backed her on this and passed a resolution asking the PNP to suspend PTCFOR in the city for a year.

Sara said the suspension of PTCFOR would be an effective measure in maintaining the city's peace and order even without martial law.

“As what we see, this is the only thing that we need to control our peace and order situation in the city,” she said.

Sara, who had openly supported her father's declaration of martial law in 2017, had a change of heart in June 2019 after meeting with several ambassadors, including European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen, Romanian Chargé d’Affaires Mihai Sion, Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries, Dutch Ambassador Saskia de Lang, and Hungarian Ambassador Jozsef Bencz.

After meeting them, Sara said she would ask her father to exempt the city from the ambit of martial law because “we have a relatively stable peace.”

But during an interview in June, Sara insisted that the city's peace and order “became more or less stable with the imposition of martial law.” – Rappler.com