BIGGER CHALLENGE. Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte formally bids farewell to the Dabawenyos on Thursday (March 17, 2022) as she takes on the bigger challenge to become the second-highest official of the country in the upcoming 2022 elections. The vice presidential aspirant also thanked her constituents for supporting her during her five-year stint as mayor during her virtual Valedictory and State of the City Address. (Screengrab from the virtual Valedictory and State of the City Address of Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte)

DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Z. Duterte formally bid farewell to Dabawenyos on Thursday as she takes on the bigger challenge of becoming the second-highest official of the country in the upcoming 2022 elections.

During her speech at the virtual Valedictory and State of the City Address (SOCA), the mayor said she has been called to join the race of a bigger challenge to win the vice presidency.

"Allow me to formally — and with a heavy heart — say farewell. Tuguti ko ninyo nga manamilit kaninyo. Nga mananghid kaninyo (Allow me to say farewell and ask your permission)," Duterte said.

She described the vice-presidential race as a challenge that allows her to spread her wings wider, "soar higher, and reach new heights."

"My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the Dabawenyos. Your patience in letting me grow from a shy neophyte in 2007 to a confident leader today is a gift, not all public servants are lucky enough to receive. You gave me wings and you taught me how to fly. Your love made me who I am today.," Mayor Sara said.

As she departs as a local chief executive of the city, Sara assured she will leave a city buoyed by a stronger economy, a stronger citizenry, with programs and services institutionalized to ensure continuity – "a city that has so much more potential for greatness."

"I am confident that whoever will lead the city in the coming months will be able to sustain, if not surpass, what we have achieved, and take Davao City even higher," she said.

Duterte recounted that over the past five years, the city government's task has been inspired and guided by the "dreams, aspirations, sacrifices, and values" instilled in all Dabawenyos.

"As I look back on the past years, I am buoyed by the indomitable spirit of the Dabawenyos — young and old, rich and the needy, men and women — who refused to give up and surrender to anything that comes our way to stop us from achieving our dreams," she said.

Duterte added that the Dabawenyos have embodied strength, resiliency, and courage.

"As Dabawenyos — to surrender is not in our blood. Winning is in our flesh. To my family, thank you for the never-ending support," she added.

Mayor Sara also thanked the Dabawenyos, city government employees, private sector, national government agencies and offices, sectoral groups, the diplomatic community, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Hugpong ng Pagbabago for all the support they gave to her and the city. (PNA)