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WOMAN OF STEEL A toughie with the heart for service, Davao City’s first lady mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio continues her father’s legacy, proving that the “Crown Jewel of the South” deserves the global spotlight

Feisty and “palaban” are terms easily associated with Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio. She’s not one to back down from any fight, and has a “don’t-mess with me attitude” especially on issues that are close to her heart, which include peace and order, the welfare of the poor, women, and children.

If you are historically the only lady mayor (not to mention, the youngest!) in the largest and most populous city in Mindanao and taking over the reins of a strong-willed leader that is your father, President Rody Duterte, people expect nothing less from you.

As Mayor Sara was busy attending to the urgent matters of the Marawi Crisis (with Davao City having been placed under MartiLaw), League asked people who work with her about her kind of leadership and governance, and how she is leading Davao towards progress.


To people who have only heard of her name, she was the gutsy mayor who punched a court sheriff

over a demolition work back in 2011. But to people who know the story behind—such as Jefry Tupas, who was then a news reporter and now Davao City’s information officer, and the owner of the shanties that were demolished—Mayor Sara is the “Iron Lady” who vowed to defend the rights of her constituents.

In Tupas’ news report on, Mayor Sara, a lawyer by profession, admitted she was angered by the sheriff’s insistence on serving the notice of eviction when she was only asking for a two-hour reprieve until the residents’ lawyers got a ruling from the Court of Appeals. Proving her capacity to mediate, the incident ended with the mayor eventually convincing the people to relocate.

Fast forward to 2017, Inday Sara, as she prefers to be called by the people of Davao, is still the same unflinching mayor. “Mayor Sara is palaban,” quips City Legal Officer and Chief of Staff Atty. Raul Nadela, Jr. “She’s not meek at all. She speaks her mind, if she thinks this would help put forward an agenda. But if she thinks that doing so will just aggravate the situation, she would rather not speak about it.”

Mayor Sara can appear intimidating to people meeting her for the first time, not because she puts on airs and graces, but because she’s pretty and intelligent. “Unknown to many, she is actually kind of shy but very approachable,” says Atty. Nadela.

The lady mayor’s wisdom in public service, he says, comes from experience and maturity, as she has

served one term as vice-mayor, and is now on her second term as mayor. “Sometimes, there’s a problem and we present possible solutions, and then she’ll give us an option that we never thought of. I get amazed by her insights,” he says.


One of the qualities that can be considered “Tatak Duterte” is the sincerity to serve—something that

is clearly passed on from father to daughter. Their gauge to know if a project is worthy to spend money on: if the results can benefit the grassroots. “Mayor Sara wants everything done fast! She wants tangible results,” says Tupas.

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