Davao City

Old Davao rivalry resurfaces as Duterte, Nograles kids face off over DSWD funds

Herbie Gomez

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Old Davao rivalry resurfaces as Duterte, Nograles kids face off over DSWD funds

WORD WAR. Davao 1st District Representative Polong Duterte and PBA party list Representative Migs Nograles engage in a war of words over DSWD funds.

The word war between Representatives Polong Duterte and Migs Nograles rekindles a deep-seated rivalry between their families, and as allegations continue, the political tension in Davao shows no signs of abating

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Reminiscent of the more than two decades of bitter political rivalry between their fathers, Representatives Paolo “Polong” Duterte of Davao’s 1st District and Margarita “Migs” Nograles of the party list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) have engaged in a word war sparked by a dispute over social welfare funds.

Duterte announced that his office’s medical assistance program in Davao City has been suspended because the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) allegedly stopped funding its services in favor of Nograles’ group.

Outside Duterte’s office in Davao, a notice was posted informing the public about the suspension of medical assistance for private hospitals, allegedly due to the lack of DSWD funds.

On her Facebook page, Nograles responded by cautioning against misinformation and black propaganda, saying that the DSWD continues to fund her office’s medical assistance program. She said that if the DSWD had no funds, the PBA wouldn’t be able to provide continuous support to those in need.

Nograles said PBA’s programs, including its barangay caravans in Davao, continue to offer services despite claims about DSWD funding issues. 

She also alleged that there were barangays in Davao where her group was barred from entering by village officials.

Nograles took to social media to respond to her critics. She posted on Monday, July 8: “At bago pa man ako i-attack ng trolls dito with more fake news…. Itanong niyo sa barangay officials ninyo bakit bawal gamitin ng PBA ang area para sa caravan, bakit bawal kami magbaba at maghatid ng serbisyo, at bakit bawal kami magbigay ng services sa constituents niyo? Kung hindi niyo pa kami nakikita diyan, yan ay dahil pinagbawalan po kami pumasok ng barangay officials.”

(Before I get attacked by trolls here with more fake news…. Ask your barangay officials why PBA is not allowed to use the area for the caravan, why we can’t unload and provide services, and why we can’t offer assistance to your constituents. If you haven’t seen us there yet, it’s because we were prohibited by barangay officials from entering.)

Duterte denied that the information from him was black propaganda or fake news.

He alleged that the DSWD stopped providing funds to his programs, and that these were being used for political purposes, in favor of the PBA party list. 

“There is no black propaganda in that, Madam Congresswoman. You all know the current situation; this is not fake news! You can verify it in the DSWD records themselves. It’s clear now that there has been an exaggeration. It’s clear now that money meant for the people is being used for politics. This is detrimental to our fellowmen,” read part of Duterte’s statement on Tuesday, July 9.

Duterte added, “I just ask that if we are to help, let’s just help. Don’t politicize this because it’s hard on the people, and the election is still far off. I also never forget, Madam Congresswoman, that you were victorious during my father’s time, despite everything that happened back then. Again, I ask that we simply do our job for the people.”

The verbal skirmish between the Duterte and Nograles children evoked echoes of a bitter feud which started in the 1990s between their respective political dynasties.

Speculation is rife that Nograles is considering a bid for the mayorship of Davao, currently held by Duterte’s younger brother Sebastian, who is eligible for reelection. Nograles has repeatedly denied any intention of challenging the Duterte family’s leadership in Davao.

The politicians’ fathers, former president Rodrigo Duterte and the late former speaker Prospero Nograles, had been bitter political rivals in Davao for at least 24 years until the latter supported Duterte’s successful presidential campaign in 2016

The rivalry began when Prospero made an unsuccessful bid for Davao’s mayoral post against the future president in 1992, a challenge he repeated in 1998 against Duterte’s mayoral bet and vice mayor, Benjamin de Guzman.

After serving as the leader of the House of Representatives for two years during the Arroyo administration, Prospero ran again for mayor in 2010, this time against the now Vice President Sara Duterte, and suffered the same fate.

When they reconciled, the late speaker’s son, Karlo Alexei, became the Cabinet secretary during the Duterte administration and continued serving as chairperson of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. After the 2022 elections, relations between the Marcos and Duterte families slowly turned sour.

The ongoing clash between the Duterte and Nograles children has rekindled a deep-seated rivalry between their political families, and as allegations and counterclaims continue, the political tension in Davao shows no signs of abating. – Rappler.com

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.