Traditional gift-giving to push through – but not at Duterte residence

Published December 14, 2020, 5:02 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The decades-old gift-giving tradition of the local government of Davao will push through this year after all.

Mayor Sara Duterte (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte announced that the extremely popular gift-giving tradition, which her father President Duterte started when he was still mayor, would not be held at the Duterte ancestral home this year but at the respective barangays of the Davao well-wishers.

Duterte said barangay officials have been directed to take the lead in the distribution of around 38,000 grocery packs from December 17 to December 23, in lieu of the Christmas Day gift-giving, which usually took place at the Duterte residence on Taal Road, Central Park Subdivision in Barangay Bangkal.

The decision to put the traditional gift-giving on-hold was made in compliance with strict health protocols on physical distancing, and mass gatherings.

The gift-giving tradition usually attracted thousands of Dabawenyos who lined up the streets of Central Park Subdivision to personally receive their gifts from the elder Duterte on Christmas Day.

 “There will be no distribution in Taal. There will be no gathering in Taal because if we base our numbers last year,  around 30,000 are expected to come. The apprehension of our health group and security group, is that if we have 30,000,  distancing cannot be enforced. We can make mandatory or monitor the face mask or face shield but, with this huge crowd,  distancing can be compromised,” she said.

She said the 38,000 grocery packs have been divided among the city’s 182 barangays.

“The distribution will be with the barangays, which will identify the individuals who are most in need of the grocery packs… this is a tradition of the late 1980s or early 1990’s, and people get used to gift-giving for December 25,” she said.

As of December 13, Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 10,818 COVID-19 cases in the region, with 2,422 active, 7,976 recoveries, and 420 deaths.

Of the total cases, Davao City reported 7,566, Davao de Oro with 534, Davao del Norte with 1,308, Davao del Sur with 800, Davao Occidental with 122, and Davao Oriental with 488.

Duterte added that the city must watch out for another surge after the Christmas season due to mass gathering.

She reminded the Dabawenyos to avoid attending Christmas parties to prevent exposure to coronavirus, and to celebrate holidays with family members who live in the same household.

Davao City reverted to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified GCQ last November 20 to 30, and has been extended until the end of this year.