Davao | Philippines

Davao City, officially the City of Davao, (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw, Filipino: Lungsod ng Dabaw), is a highly urbanized city in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

It is the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, and the most populous city in the country outside Metro Manila. It is geographically situated in the province of Davao del Sur and grouped under the province by the Philippine Statistics Authority but being a highly urbanized city, it is governed and administered politically independent from it. The city has a total land area of 2,443.61 km2 (943.48 sq mi), and a population of 1,632,991 people based on the 2015 census. This figure also makes it the third-most-populous city in the Philippines and the most populous in Mindanao.

It is the center of Metro Davao, the third most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines (as of 2015 census with a population of 2.5 million, after Metro Manila's 12.8 million and Metro Cebu's 2.8 million). The city serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao and the regional center of Davao Region. Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. The city is also nicknamed as the "Durian Capital of the Philippines". The city is divided into three congressional districts, which are subdivided into 11 administrative districts with a total of 182 barangays.

In 1967, the Province of Davao was divided into three provinces: Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur. The city of Davao became part of Davao del Sur; no longer the provincial capital, it became a commercial center of southern Mindanao. During the 1970s, Davao became regional capital of southern Mindanao; with the reorganization, it became the regional capital of the Davao Region (Region XI) and highly urbanized city in the province of Davao del Sur.

The conflict inside the city became severe, murders in the streets occurring very frequently. This situation lasted until 1985, when locals formed the vigilante group "Alsa Masa" (People's Rise) to drive the causative elements from the city.

Real social stability in the city, however, began in earnest when Rodrigo Duterte first assumed office as mayor in 1988. Prior to this, the city had a reputation as the country's murder capital.

A majority of Davao City's inhabitants are of the Roman Catholic with 80% of the population. Other Christian groups, such as the Miracle Crusade, Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) and followers of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, comprise eighteen percent of the city's religious background. Seventh-day Adventists, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Philippine Independent Church and Baptists are the other Christian denominations. The remaining two percent belong to non-Christian faiths, mainly Islam. Some of the other faiths are Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, animism, Judaism and the non-religious.

The Restorationist Church Kingdom of Jesus Christ had its origins in the city. Apollo Quiboloy, the claiming "Appointed Son of God", was the leader of the movement.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Davao is the main metropolitan see of the Roman Catholic Church in southern Mindanao. It comprises the city of Davao, the Island Garden City of Samal and the municipality of Talaingod in Davao del Norte; under its jurisdiction are the three suffragan dioceses of Digos, Tagum and Mati (the capital cities of the three Davao provinces). Archbishop Romulo Valles of the Archdiocese of Davao, appointed on February 11, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI, took office on May 22, 2012, at San Pedro Cathedral. Saint Peter, locally known as San Pedro, is the patron saint of the city.

Two major annual festivals are held in the city: the Araw ng Dabaw (Day of Davao) on March 16 (The city's incorporation day) and the Kadayawan Festival in August. Also celebrated in the entire month of December, Pasko Fiesta sa Davao is an integration of festive and competitive Christmas activities showcasing colorful lightings and array of decorations in barangays, public parks, roads and buildings, and a series of competitive performances. Another annual festival, the Torotot Festival, is held annually every New Year's Eve. First organized in the last day of 2013 during the 2014 New Year's Eve, it was organized as a recompense for the city firecracker-pyrotechnics ban; it includes a number of people simultaneously blowing party horns, locally known as torotots. It recorded a number of 7,568 people participating in the first event, aiming to break the world record set by Japan for the most people simultaneously blowing party horns.

As of 2011, there were 1,075,000 recorded tourist arrivals in the city, totaled from 81,081 foreign travelers, 983,315 local citizens, and 10,604 balikbayans/overseas Filipino workers. Estimated tourist receipts were recorded at 12.81 billion pesos while estimated economic benefits were 28.19 billion pesos.

Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of Davao for a total of 22 years, has benefited from reports in the national media that he made Davao into one of the world's safest cities, and he cites this as justification for his national drug policy. However, data from the Philippine National Police for the years 2010 to 2015 shows that the city had the highest murder rate in the Philippines, the second highest number of rapes, and the fourth highest number of index crimes.

In February 2018, Davao City Council officially declared Senator Antonio Trillanes "persona non grata" after video emerged of him citing the police data to debunk the claim of Davao being the world's safest city, which he said that Davaoenos were "brainwashed" into believing. He said that he was "expressing what Davaoenos cannot express out of fear." Media claims of "safest city" cite rankings from Numbeo, a crowd-sourced survey website; as of February 2018, Davao had dropped to 275th out of 330 cities in Numbeo's crime index.

The Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), the first in the Philippines, is located in Sandawa, Matina. It is headquarters for 911 and the center for the 170 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in different strategic areas as of today covering access roads and populated downtown areas, and also including outside the Davao International Airport and six in different bridges to monitor the rise of water level in the city’s rivers. The center also controls traffic signals in the city.

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