Second District Bets Offer Ideas, Programs

May. 12, 2007

Second District: The four congressional candidates offer their ideas, programs and platforms, some lofty, some realistic.

By Grace S. Uddin

DAVAO CITY — In the vote-rich second district of this city, where 251,272 registered voters make up 33 percent of the citys total voting population, four political bets are vying for the congressional seat.

Third-termer reelectionist Vincent Garcia, the son of former second district Congressman Nonoy Garcia, is running against three-term City Councilor Jimmy Dureza, lawyer and former human rights commissioner Billy Aportadera and 34-year-old college dropout Joel Batucan, who ekes out a living tilling less than half a hectare of land.

Garcia, who took over his fathers old post by winning the congressional race in 2001, is running under the political group Hugpong of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the group that has a standing alliance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Team Unity ticket.

Vincent Garcia

Garcia is pitted against Aportadera, the Genuine Opposition’s candidate who is also endorsed by the partylist group Gabriela. Aportadera ran for the same post in 2001 but lost to Garcia, a fifth-generation member of the Suazo-Monteverde-Garcia political clan. Batucan, the fourth candidate, said he was pushed into the political race by a dream.

Davao Citys second district covers some 81, 406 hectare-area that include the hinterland villages of Paquibato, Buhangin, Bunawan and Agdao, where a large cement factory, quarrying, logging, small scale mining and banana plantations operate. Paquibato area, where small mining operate, is also known for the presence of the communist New People’s Army.

Barely a week before the midterm elections, sat down with the candidates to ask them about their stand on summary killings happening in the city, the growing insurgency issues, environment, business and employment, housing and the demolition of houses in urban poor areas.


What is your take on the extrajudicial killings in the city?

GARCIA: That’s a local problem, not a national one, so that has to be addressed by city officials. Its up to Mayor (Rodrigo) Duterte to address that, in consultation with the police, military, etc.

Jimmy Dureza. ( photo by Grace Uddin)

DUREZA: That is not the solution to the problem on criminality. No one has the right to take away the life of one who has committed crime against the law. If somebody commits a crime, why not file a case against him? We have institutions like our jail, we have legal processes. If someone commits a crime, there has to be due process. A convicted criminal will have to suffer the consequences of his actions. He will also be given the chance to serve his sentence and to reform himself. The City Council had earlier called the chief of the Davao city police on the issue of extrajudicial killings.

APORTADERA: The issue on summary killings is a human-rights issue. We just have to make sure that the perpetrators are arrested. Crime must be a concern of the military and the police but what the congressman can do is strengthen the police in the area so that crimes, including summary killings, are addressed.

BATUCAN: Summary killings can be addressed through barangay cooperatives. For example, we will have a barangay tanod, barangay civilian night watch to solve the killings. We will come up with a witness protection program for the barangay. We should also have a cooperative for the family of the victims and the witnesses and an city anti- crime cooperative involving the PNP, NBI, air force and barangay to help solve the crime.

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