Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte denied being an endorser of the fire-stricken mall in her city and clarified that she is not involved in the team investigating the fire.
Addressing her critics, Mayor Duterte addresses her critics’ questions about her impartiality considering her alleged ‘endorsement contract’ with the NCCC mall.
“My impartiality has been questioned and there have been suggestions that I should inhibit myself from the investigation of the NCCC mall fire because of an endorsement contract,” she said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Davao City government.
“For the record, I am not part of the investigation team. I have never presented myself to investigate the mall fire and under normal circumstances, a City Mayor does not sign fire investigation reports of the BFP,” she added.
She also clarified questions about her supposed endorsement with the mall.
“Also, I am not an endorser of the NCCC mall, but I have a commitment with Choice Mart, which is another company of NCCC supermarket,” Duterte said.
The Davao City mayor said that her office’s handling of the incident stopped chaos and hysteria in the city.
“Nobody can question how I did my work as Mayor in helping the family of the victims, the BFP, the NCCC, and SSI officials,” she said.
“The way my staff and CSSDO handled everything during the evening of Dec 23 until today prevented chaos and hysteria among the victims and Dabawenyos in general,” she added.
Mayor Duterte said her critics were merely trying to look for something to criticize her with.
“Siguro isa ito sa mga pagkakataon na maghahanap talaga ng butas ang mga tao para lang meron masabi na may masama akong ginagawa,” she said.
“In any event, I never said I am investigating the fire incident and I welcome any investigation on how I did my work in this particular matter,” she further said.
Mayor Sara’s clarification came after netizens pointed out an NCCC article about her being the “new face of Choice Mart by NCCC” and her “closeness” with the mall owners.
Some highlighted what her statement about her endorsement of NCCC’s Choice Mart, where she said, “I am very eager because I know the values of the family.”
She was quoted making the remarks in a Sun Star Davao report published on September 8, 2015. It was also in the same report where the mayor said it was a good thing to support the mall, considering how it is owned by lumad Davaoeños.
The fire at the NCCC Mall started at around 9:30 am on December 23 on the mall’s third level, which led to a death toll of 38 victims, 37 of which were call center workers, while the other one was a mall employee who was hailed a hero for saving hundreds of mall workers and shoppers.