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Except for Vice President, Dutertes skip President Marcos events

MANILA, Philippines — Despite a testy exchange about drug use with former president Rodrigo Duterte, President Marcos said he has a lot of fond memories and made lifetime friends in Davao City.

Marcos made the remarks during the ceremonial turnover of electronic land titles to over 2,000 beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program at the Rizal Memorial Colleges Gym in Davao City, with Mayor Sebastian Duterte nowhere to be seen.

Anyone surnamed Duterte was absent when Marcos visited Davao yesterday – except for Vice President Sara Duterte, the daughter of the former president and sister of the mayor.

“I’m happy to be back here in Davao. I had so many fond memories with the Davaoeños,” he told the audience in Filipino, which included Sara, also the concurrent education secretary.

“I made lifelong friendships here. I cannot lose my love for Davao and its people,” the President said.

The Vice President also joined Marcos at the celebration of the 125th founding anniversary of the Department of Transportation and the ceremonial signing of the civil works contracts for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.

The country’s highest officials were seen seated beside each other during the land title distribution and the signing of the DOTr project events.

Sara Duterte, Marcos’s runningmate in the May 2022 polls, introduced the President during the two events.

Marcos credited the Vice President for the public transport modernization project, saying it was first conceptualized during her term as mayor of Davao City.

However, incumbent Mayor Baste, who last month expressed dissatisfaction with the President and asked him to resign, was a no-show.

In an interview in Vietnam, Marcos said his relationship with the Vice President remains intact and that the UniTeam, the political coalition formed during the 2022 elections, still exists.

In his speech during the distribution of e-titles, Marcos said he brought with him several members of his Cabinet, including Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III, indicating his administration’s whole-of-nation approach to attain economic progress, especially in Mindanao.

The former president