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DAVAO CITY, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Davao City Council declared opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV “persona non grata” after the lawmaker called President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown the most dangerous city in the Philippines.
The council approved the resolution filed by Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag on Tuesday, February 13, during a regular session.
In pushing for declaring the senator as persona non grata in Davao City, Al-ag said in his resolution: “Mr Trillanes, Dabawenyos are furious and angry with your words and with your action….We do not need you here in Davao City. You are unwelcome and unwanted in our city of Davao. You have not done anything good at all to our city!”
Al-ag said that Trillanes, a staunch Duterte critic, made the claim during a recent forum with members of the Filipino community in Chicago. He was referring to the community dialogue organized by the Filipino-American Human Rights Alliance with the Philippine senator in Chicago on February 9.
During the forum, which was recorded and uploaded on social media, Trillanes described Davao as the most dangerous city in the Philippines when it was under Duterte, who was the city’s mayor for more than 20 years.
Trillanes said Davao City was number one in terms of murder and rape cases when Duterte served as mayor, and that residents there were “so brainwashed into believing” that the city was among the safest places to live in the world.
Al-ag said Trillanes’ statement was “an insult to the 1.6 million Dabawenyos who are working hard every day to make our city safe.”
Al-ag also urged those who were in the audience to visit Davao to see for themselves that the city is safe, and if any of them would “feel even an iota of danger,” Al-ag would refund all their “travel expenses plus pocket money.”
Malacañang congratulated Davao City.
Asked for a Palace statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that since the President had nothing to do with the city council’s decision, the Palace official didn’t know what people would want him to say “other than, congratulations to Davao City.”
In response, Trillanes said, “The truth, definitely, hurts.”
“My statement was based on the December 2015 statistics of the PNP (Philippine National Police) that Davao City has the highest incidence of murder and second highest in rape. The people of Davao either know it but tolerate it out of fear or they’ve actually believed the lie that was fed to them that Davao City is the safest city in the world,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
The senator reiterated his point in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s time to shatter the myth. Davao is the most dangerous city in the Philippines: No. 1 in Murder; No. 2 in Rape. pic.twitter.com/F1AdwaV7IG— Sonny Trillanes IV (@TrillanesSonny) February 13, 2018
Trillanes joins the list of personalities declared persona non grata by the Davao City Council for making offensive remarks about the city.
The others include comedian Ramon Bautista who joked during a local festival in 2014 that many women in the city were “hipon (shrimp)” which is a derogatory term for a person with a sexually appealing body but with a less attractive face.
In 2010, the city council declared as persona non grata then Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy Representative Pastor Alcover Jr and Bantay Representative Jovito Palparan, a retired military general who was involved in the military’s counter-insurgency campaign, for saying that Davao City was a breeding ground for communist insurgents. – with a report from Pia Ranada / Rappler.com