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Safety in Davao

As many in the world have heard, there was a great tragedy this week in the Philippines on the island of Mindanao. There was a massacre where, as currently counted, 57 people were killed and placed in a mass grave.

As alleged, this was a due to a family clan feud over a political dynasty. I am not going to go into specifics about what happened and why; there is plenty already on the news and news sites. What I am going to discuss is the safety in Davao.

The massacre occurred in southern region of Maguindanao, which is located in the ARMM, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. This is an area of Mindanao comprised mostly of peoples of the Muslim faith. This region has for years wanted self-rule and has had many instances of terror.

How does this affect Davao, actually, except for grief and sorrow for the people who lost their lives, and something to follow in the news, not much. Davao is a safe city run by Mayor Duterte. He is very strong against political wars and crime.

When something happens, or threats occur, he tightens security in the city. I have seen checkpoints set up at different locations manned by Army members who stop all vehicles and inspect the contents if felt necessary.

At times  during the year where there are more than normal amounts of people at certain locations, check points are again set up since terrorists like to target these locations.  The beginning on November, during All Souls and All Saints Day, the police and Army checkpoints were set up near the cemeteries.  At Easter and Christmas times, there will be Army presence at the malls.

Is any place in this world safe? Of course not, but the added security and presence of the Army and their checkpoints help keep Davao a safe location for Foreigners and Filipinos to live.

19 Responses to “Safety in Davao”

  1. edward says:

    Interesting observation Bruce,but you failed to mention that the major participants,in this power struggle.Actually have homes in the middle of Davao,in fact more like a fortress,than a home.Ifor one,hope the troubles stay outside city limits,but watch this space only time will tell.

    • Bruce says:

      Edward,
      I apologize to you and the readers for such a short post. It has been a crazy week and quickly wrote it at 11pm last night. I thought about mentioning their compounds in Davao and that they were coming here. I heard, and that was hearsay that they came in a convoy and was told by the Mayor that if they had weapons, they would be taken away at the checkpoint entering Davao. I am not sure the cause, but there is a lot of redirected traffic around town and checkpoints.
      All this gos to show how the Mayor watches out for his people and trys to keep this city safe.

  2. jan says:

    Bruce,
    and other expats in the Philippines:
    All police departments in the country are on a higher alert than useual. A warning for all of us: stay away from crowded places like malls, markets etc.
    If those people are not getting this arrested man free in a short time, they are able to go into terroristic attacts like bombing and so on. BE CAREFUL in where you go !!

    • Bruce says:

      Jan,
      As I replied to Edward, there is heightened security visible here. As this is an election time, security will and should be hightened all over this country. Lets us all pray this is the only killings due to the election.

  3. david S. says:

    I found it interesting that following this heinous crime the President declared marshall law and increased security in the region. The people protected by this act are the perpetrators as revenge would be very high in the minds of the offended parties. It also amazed me that the mayor of Davao would allow the prepetrators to come into his city. I, for one, would not be offering sanctuary to group of criminals responsible for such despicable crimes. Perhaps the mayor and the criminals are birds of a feather?

    • Bruce says:

      David,
      I try to stay away from political comments here as it is not my place to discuss. I also believe in the law and that legally people until proven guilty are “Alleged” perpetrators.
      I understand the increasing of security and saw the affects of this here in Davao.
      About the Mayor, I do not question how he keeps this city safe, but am glad he does.

  4. Leon says:

    Bruce,
    What makes this massacre different is it’s the first time women were included. Most were gang raped, most were killed by a vaginally inserted AK47 and fired. Some were alive when buried.

    • Bruce says:

      Leon,
      Thanks for adding the grim details. Yes, this was a terrible event for the people, the political process and the views from the outside world.

  5. Steve in Davao says:

    Bruce, I think you are right about safety in the Philippines or at least here in Davao. With a little thought to personal safety and situational awareness, one can feel reasonably safe here. By situational awareness I mean keeping your head up and paying attention to your surroundings. I know that I have a habit of intense self thought (some call it day dreaming, but I prefer the term “intense self thought” Ha..ha!). As I walk around and do daily business here I try to pay attention to things happening around me. The first thing you’ll notice, if you don’t already notice, is your being watched. Most of us expats stand out in a crowd, I know I do. I’m over 6 ft. tall with light hair and blue eyes. I STAND OUT! So, if someone is intentionally looking for a target, I’m easy to see. If I don’t keep my head up I could easily walk into a situation that will threaten my safety. I was recently walking near my wife’s old neighborhood (Lolo and Lola’s House) and a fight (riot, twenty or so people) broke-out near the Bocana seawall. I simply grabbed my daughter and walked two alleys over and caught a tricycle to the boulevard and a cab to home. I don’t know why they were fighting and I don’t care why. I just knew it was not a place for me. Now enough of that; at no time did I feel threatened, I just knew it was time to go. Situational Awareness! OK, enough stories, let’s keep our heads up and enjoy our lives here in the P.I.

    • Bruce says:

      Steve,
      In Davao, there has never been a place I felt unsafe. Sure, I never go along the river or squatter areas. The only time I was nervous was waiting for a taxi on front of my home, a Jeep bumped into a motorcycle. It did not cause damage, but the motorcycle driver dropped his bike and walking up to where the Jeepney pulled over, he reached under his shirt and pulled out a gun. I hoped I would find a taxi before the bullets started flying.

  6. Steve in Davao says:

    Oh, the wild west in your front yard, do you live some where near Detroit, Philippines..Ha..Ha!

  7. evelyn says:

    this is really one barbaric act..
    i wonder what kind of conscience they have?
    can the perpetrators sleep at night?i mean…are they still able to sleep peacefully at night?
    i am praying for the victims but more for the real killers..i am praying that these killers will be put to jail…but how?

    • Bruce says:

      Evelyn,
      You are a Filipino and should know better than me the use of killings, tsismis (gossip) and other ways to get people out of politics, business or any other reason they need. I feel it is time for the people of the Philippines to stand up and look for changes.

  8. evelyn says:

    bruce,it is soooo hard and too damn difficult to introduce change…hehehe..
    i’ll wait and see what’s going to happen with this automated machines there…

    • Bruce says:

      Evelyn,

      Change is always difficult because of fear of the unknown. But just like in the US, change is sometimes a good thing for a country and its people.

  9. Steve says:

    is samal safe

    • Bruce says:

      Steve,
      I have not heard of any problems on Samal. I have only gone to the beach resorts and one time to the back side of the island to a friends home and had no trouble.

  10. rafael mascardo says:

    Hello Bruce! We are couple from Davao El Rio Vista that you took to Greyhound bus terminal last Dec. 22 and took some picture of us. To be exact your 4th passenger for the day. We are glad to meet you. Thank you for promoting our city Davao. Yes, I agree when you say Dabo is safe because our mayor see to it the safety of our city. Just to bad that things happening outside davao is been sensationalize to discredit the good effort of our mayor Duterte of his good doings for the city. Your so cool men hope to see you when you are in davao

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