Goldenrod, a small town on the banks of the Yalu River in the central Philippines, has been under the control of the Marcos regime for nearly 50 years.
The last president, Jose “Sonny” Duterte, died in a gun battle in 1989.
Since then, a series of massacres have plagued the area, most notably the massacre of around 1,000 civilians in the town of Davao in 1986, the worst atrocity against the Filipino people since the Second World War.
The government has also been criticized for its handling of human rights violations in the country, including in Davao, where several dozen people have been killed since Duterte assumed office in June last year.
While Goldenrod has been left behind, the nearby city of Cebu has seen a surge in business over the last few years.
Cebu, which has a population of around 300,000, is located just a few kilometers from Davao.
It was one of the first cities in the Philippines to be declared a ‘no-go zone’ by the Philippine government in 2015, which meant that there was an immediate spike in armed conflict in the city, where residents were forced to move to safer locations.
With Goldenrod under siege, the local government has been forced to shut its shops, leaving residents without a way to buy food, fuel, clothes and other necessities.
This has prompted the Goldenrod department stores to open, though the exact opening date for the new stores is yet to be announced.
Goldenrod’s opening comes amid heightened tensions in the region, with the Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte demanding a total crackdown on illegal drugs.
According to the Davao Daily News, Goldenrod’s new stores will be the first in the province.
“The Goldenrod store will be one of several that will be established across the province, along with other stores,” said local official J.J. Gonsalves.
According the Daily News’ report, the stores will serve as a base for the Philippine National Police (PNP), who will work with the local police to establish the new facilities.
The PNP has so far arrested more than 7,000 suspected drug dealers in Davos, though its presence has been minimal since Duterte took office in May.
The Davao City mayor has promised to eradicate drugs by the end of his term, which ends in 2022.