Beng Climaco, Mayor of Zamboanga City, Philippines, since 2013 and recipient of the 2018 World Mayor Commendation
WORLD MAYOR 2018
Dedicated to women mayors
The 2018 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on women mayors who have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to their communities. The organisers wish to show what outstanding women mayors achieve all over the world. By doing so, they hope to encourage more women to contemplate a career in local government and run for political office. The women, who will be awarded the 2018 World Mayor Prize and other honours, will be role models for young women and, indeed, men everywhere. Beng Climaco, Mayor of Zamboanga City, Philippines, has been awarded the 2018 World Commendation.
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Mayor of Zamboanga City (Philippines)
Nominated by Eleno S., Zamboanga:
Security is one of her dreams for Zamboanga City. She wants the city to be peaceful forever. She continuously looks into the needs of the policemen and the military in their mission to maintain the security of the Zamboangueňos and the city in general. Motorcycles and other transportations were issued to the men in uniform to be used in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.
Constituents of the city avail medical assistance from the mayor. Medicines in the Barangay health centers have been monitored well to see to it that the needy get them. Senior citizens also receive assistance from the mayor.
As an educator herself, the mayor constantly sponsors trainings and workshops for the professional development of the teachers. In so doing, the students benefit much. School buildings were among the priorities of the mayor. She also saw to it that classrooms and chairs are enough in the schools. The students are always the LOVE of the mayor. Whenever she is attending activities with the students, she makes sure that she has time to talk with the students. She listens to their requests as evidenced in the many activities she sponsored for them.
Nominated by Dyns G., Zamboanga:
Casting my vote for Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City, Philippines. I have known Mayor Beng Climaco since I was in my HS days because:
(1) she became our professor in Literature,
(2) she was our guidance councilor in Ateneo de Zamboanga University,
(3) i worked for her when she was a Congresswoman of Zamboanga 1st District and also became the Deputy Speaker from Zamboanga in her 2nd term and the only Lady Deputy Speaker,
(4) and now i am working for her as one of her EA's in the City Gov't of Zamboanga.
I really look up to her since then because i saw how compassionate and loving person she is. It was like growing up with her (from HS till present). When she was in her 2nd term as Congresswoman and holding a position in Congress as Deputy Speaker i can say she was in the peak of her career because she was doing so well in representing her District, but when she was called for to run for Mayor in her supposedly 3rd term in Congress she never thought of herself but thought of the Zamboanguenos.
For the love of Zamboanga City she run for Mayor and won a landslide victory in 2013. She is now on her 5th year as a Mayor but it was not an easy job for her because in her 1st term as a Mayor came the siege in Zamboanga City. It was the most difficult times for Zamboanga City but our Mayor Beng never give up (sleepless nights) she fought hard for Zamboanga and look us at now Zamboanga City is booming all because of the unending efforts of Mayor Beng Climaco.
This is why she deserves to be the World Mayor of all time.
Nominated by Antonia Y. L., Quezon City, Philippines:
I am Antonia Y. L., Chairperson of the International Advisory Board of the Manila Observatory and President of the National Resilience Council of the Philippines.
The National Resilience council is deeply honoured and moved to be able to journey towards climate and disaster resilience under the leadership of Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco. She has been able to light the way towards unity and peace for a city that is no stranger to conflict and violence. She has shown how compassion, humility, wisdom and generosity can heal the wounds of history and pave the way to a just and sustainable development.
Under Mayor Climaco's inclusive and honest and stewardship Zamboanga city continuously strives to provide an equitable quality of life for all. Her untiring commitment to using ensuring access to public services has resulted in increased access to quality healthcare, housing for the disadvantaged and displaced, food security, environmental protection and infrastructure to support greater investment and employment opportunities. This is evidenced by the recent investments of the leading retail and property development conglomerate in the country. Additionally, Zamboanga City has been able to sustain the its place as the source of 70% of the entire supply of Philippine sardine industry.
Mayor Beng's commitment to winning the peace in a multi-cultural environment is especially significant since Zamboanga is likewise at risk due to natural hazards and climate change. Her enlightened leadership and her capacity for reducing exposure and vulnerability of even the most socially marginalized make her a truly unique and exemplary woman mayor.
The National Resilience Council and the Manila Observatory are deeply grateful to be able to work with Mayor Beng Climaco and the entire city of Zamboanga.
Thus, it is my honour to nominate her for the 2018 World Mayor Prize.
Nominated by Ruth R. G., Zamboanga:
Mayor Beng’s style of leadership as our city mayor has opened affirmative possibilities for la bella ciudad de Zamboanga (beloved city of Zamboanga). I believe the city has become more vibrant and more in touch to its identity.
When she was elected Mayor in 2013, a litmus test to her leadership happened a few months after, with the infamous Zamboanga siege led by followers of Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front. I believe that she never rested until it ended three weeks later. I witnessed her courage and steadfastness, as I also affirmed the deep faith she has with her God. I believe that her deep faith sustained her in those trying days. The aftermath of it is much herculean. She tried and consistently persevere in narrowing the gap between and among the tri-people of zamboanga: Lumad, Muslims and Christians.
In response to the challenged brought forth by the 2013 Zamboanga siege she convened the City Inter-Religious Dialogue Council. It is a platform where religious leaders and select members of the academe, security sector and ngo’s come together for discussion relating to inter-religious dialogue. Recently, she also convened the Technical Working Group on Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism whose members are multi-sectoral as the IRD Council but the focus matter is relating to consolidating efforts in countering the narratives and actions of violent extremists.
She may be a woman but for me she has warrior’s heart with a mother’s touch.
Certainly, it is not a perfect leadership… but the sincerity of her heart, for me, is openly manifested, consistent to what she says and do. For I would rather have a mayor who is deeply spiritual and aware of her strengths and weakness, rather than to have a leader who is pretentious and deceitful.
In the multi-cultural setting we are with a backdrop of the challenged of radical extremism in the peninsula and in the region, while at the same time work for the development and improvement of the city, I believe, that she is one woman leader worth emulating, hence worthy of recognition.
Nominated by Marvin E., Zamboanga:
I have known Beng long before she entered politics. Despite (or probably because of her strong Catholic upbringing, she has a heart for all peoples regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or belief. This is strongly manifested in her many projects and advocacies. Her inclusive leadership is a recognition of Zamboanga’s multiculturalism, a fact that many local leaders have ignored and refused to accept. In the face of a growing non-Christian population in Zamboanga City, Beng’s brand of leadership is a clear indication of an astute mind that is receptive to the signs of the times and a strong resolve to face them head on.
Being a native Zamboagueña, Beng genuinely appreciates the city’s rich heritage and unique culture. Thus, while ushering in a new era of progress by dismantling protectionism that had crippled the city for years, she has also endeavoured to preserve and protect local culture.
More than anything else, what sets Beng apart from the rest is her integrity. Her leadership is living proof that honesty in public service is not a mere pipe dream.
Nominated by Christian O., Zambonaga:
I worked as one of the Executive Assistants of Mayor Beng Climaco since 2013 and handled youth programs and was the head secretariat of the Zamboanga City Interfaith Council and I have seen how she ensured and pursued the concept of social inclusion in her leadership agenda by vowing to continuously implement programs and measures to uplift and empower the children and youth whom she considers the VIPs of Zamboanga and her administration and include dialogues with religious leaders to support the concept of the culture of peace in the City.
It is clear that the City Government of Zamboanga through Mayor Beng has religiously recognized the importance of the children and young people from the cross section of society. These include in-school youth, out-of-school youth, children at risk, children in conflict with the law, child abuse, children with disabilities, and our center-based and street children.
This year, Zamboanga City under her leadership, was conferred with the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The seal was conferred based on the 2017 performance of the City to generate positive programs and services for the welfare of children. Zamboanga City was one of the 50 cities, municipalities and provinces in Region 9 that passed the 2017 Child Friendly Local Governance Audit. The Zamboanga City Council for the Protection of Children (ZCCPC) has been very active in various activities of our young population along the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Child (UN-CRC) four category rights: Protection, Development, Survival and Participation.
The City is also a recipient of the highest Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) Functionality award IDEAL for three (3) successive years.
Mayor Climaco made it clear that one of her key missions as Chief Executive of the City was also based on the four rights of children survival, development, protection, and participation. The City Government of Zamboanga is committed to provide effective, efficient, rights-based, gender-responsive and culture-sensitive programs and services that will promote the best interest and welfare of children.
The City now has ninety-four (94) out of the ninety-eight (98) barangays with established Day Care Centers and hygiene facilities for children. She also continued the partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development DSWD) in the implementation of the Supplementary Feeding Program to help address the under nutrition problem as well as sustain the nutritional status among children in the Child Development Centers (CDC) and Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP).
A total of 15,335 children availed of the Supplementary Feeding five times a week for 120 days based on a prepared cycle menu in the preparation of hot meals; children are also taught proper hygiene such as washing the hands before and after eating, table manners and prayer before and after meals and simple concepts of health care and nutrition and importance of nutrition for their health and development;
All of these programs have mitigated hunger among our poor children attending Day Care Sessions. Somehow this has motivated them to actively participate in all activities in the Day Care Centers, thus remarkable increase in attendance has been noted.
Many experts highlight the value of education in addressing poverty and facilitate inclusive growth. No country has achieved constant economic development without considerable investment in education and human capital. Education provides a foundation for eradicating poverty and fostering development. This is exactly why in our programming for children; education has always been our priority.
From 2014-2018, her administration invested P1.9 Billion for education the biggest ever investment by any administration this has built climate-change resilient school buildings, armchairs for students, increase honoraria for teachers among other forms of support to include trainings.
More than the hard projects and schools facilities, we also reach out to the hearts. She has constantly talked, listened and engaged with young leaders in schools, communities and organizations. Speak Out Zamboanga, a monthly forum done together with USAID and other partners helped acknowledge the voices of young people and gave them a place at the table to discuss issues and take action on things that matter.
She help facilitate the creation of the LGBT Alliance in Zamboanga City an umbrella organization for all LGBT groups in the City to help them organize as a sector, collaborate for projects and lobby for action and legislation.
Her office also convened student leaders for the creation of an alliance of student councils among all the colleges and universities in the City to push for students’ rights and welfare in schools. She implemented scholarship programs including the Special Program for Employment of Student (SPES) which paved the way for our poor but interested young people to pursue high school and finish their college degree by using the allowances they received from the SPES in the hope to break the cycle of poverty.
But those who are not part of the formal education system are also not left behind. We also formed the Zamboanga City Out-of-School Youth Development Alliance and through USAID’s Mindanao Youth for Development Program together with EDC and ZABIDA, we already produced 3,461 Out of School Youth graduates on various skills trainings and Alternative Learning System graduates for Accreditation and Equivalency for high school drop outs, and basic literacy and numeracy for elementary drop outs.
Zamboanga City OSYDA reaped honors being recognized 1st Place in the Highest Local Resources Mobilized for OSY among all other cities in Mindanao, Best Practice in OSY Network Activity, Best Practice in Private Sector Partnership and Best Practice in Sustainability.
Indeed, we have seen and felt the dynamism and potentials of our children and many of our young people and she played a significant role to make sure that they have a safe and bright future ahead.
Meanwhile, it was also during her administration that the Zamboanga City Interfaith Council was created after the Zamboanga Siege that now adopts pluralistic and non-discriminatory policy initiatives; maintain ties with various religious organizations of civil society, facilitate and promote interfaith activities in the fabric of the city. The Council through her leadership encouraged the conduct of events, programs and activities which bring people together and celebrate the diverse cultures of the City. Her administration was able to present a symbol of unity, in the common ground of our faiths.
It is on these aspects that I strongly support and nominate Mayor Beng Climaco for the World Mayor Award.
Nominated by Diana A. G., Zamboanga:
Mayor Beng Climaco is the mayor of the southern city of Zamboanga, in the island of Mindanao. As mayor, she has carved a different brand of leadership and governance, that is a combination of her background of civic mindedness and public service, and the present reality on the ground in this city today.
Mayor Beng was born in a family of civic leaders and public servants. Her grandmother, Isabel C. Climaco, after whom she was named, was an indefatigable trailblazer who fought for women's rights and children's welfare. The early education school she founded continues it's mission to date, to provide the city's young children with an excellent but affordable early schooling. Both her father and her uncle were elected public officials.
Her message of progressive change for the City of Zamboanga sits well with her constituents. They elected her mayor on May 13, 3013 and overwhelmingly again, on May 9, 2016.
Her programs for health and sustainable jobs for women, and the education and protection of children are what she is known and loved for by her constituents. Her consistent message to promote women and children"s rights is evidenced by her success in passing Republic Act 9710, known as the "Magna Carta of Women". In 2014, under her leadership, Zamboanga reached an ideal rating for a child-friendly local government unit.
Security in Zamboanga City had been an ongoing issue for the area. The presence of the southwest Command of the Armed forces in Zamboanga City clearly speaks of the need for security. No other city has this large military presence. In 2013, she faced a crisis that started with the armed Moro National Liberation Front soldiers invading the city, which resulted in civilian injuries and casualties. The whole city was thrown into a lock down situation, closing schools, sea and air transport, hospitals and businesses. It brought out the mobilization of all resources of the city and private institutions, to meet the needs of refugees, combatants, and all the locals who were escaping the front lines of combat. It was a war zone. It brought total chaos. Under her leadership, the city survived. She sent updates through social media and other ways available then. And most of all, she maintained, under great political pressure, that the invading rebels face the consequences of their aggression, under the rule of law of the Philippine Republic.
As mayor, she continues to learn from other leaders , nationally and internationally , through forums that address women"s issues which includes ongoing women"s leadership and governance. She maintains a progressive perspective by listening and participating in young political conferences, locally and abroad.
There are enormous opportunities and challenges facing the City of Zamboanga, but it's citizenry puts it's optimism and faith in the leadership of Mayor Beng Climaco.
Nominated by Jose Chiquito M. M., Zamboanga:
I have personally worked with the City Mayor of Zamboanga from July 4 to October 21, 2013 as the Officer-In-Charge of the City Police Office and thus, I would say the following for her:
• A natural diplomat and peacemaker -- Sometime in July of 2013, a situation could have possibly erupted into a serious family RIDO (family Vendetta) when killings between family members occurred; Her soft and firm approach without compromising justice resulted to the resolution of the case through the Justice System filing the case in court ;
• A dependable leader amidst the chaos, threats and security issues during the “Siege” of Zamboanga City, Mayor Climaco stood with her constituents in facing the crises. A lady Mayor she is, but she has shown her firmness and courage in dealing the situation and never did she left the City during this trying times. Zamboanga City was attacked by the Rouge Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Elements or RME in the early dawn of September 2013, taking hostages, burning houses and also planned to burn the City Center. The Lady Mayor was very visible, motivating the police and military personnel depending the City; She also made it sure the City is providing their needs while in the front line.
Mayor Climaco was also concerned on the safety and welfare of the innocent civilians affected during the siege providing them shelter and basic needs and also tapped available partners for this aspects. When the Siege was over, she initiated effort for the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City particularly on the Housing, relocation of the victims and building back to City from the devastation brought by the RME.
• Strategic and Supportive Leader - As the Chief Executive of the City, Mayor Climaco has empowered her personnel to come up with a good recommendation to solve a situation after a proper consultation from concerned stake holders has been conducted; Even before she became the City Mayor, she already started providing a number of reliable vehicle for the police of Zamboanga City; and
• A No Non Sense Leader in Smuggling Issues - As to the issue of Smuggling of Illegal rice in the area, Mayor Climaco has walked her talk and had motivated the police to do its part in the Anti-Illegal Smuggling Campaign. During this time my Office under her watch has resulted into a number of illegally transported Rice intercepted and turned over to the customs.
I would further say, Mayor Maria Isabel “Beng “ Climaco is a Local Chief Executive with a vision of bringing Zamboanga City to its greater heights through cohesiveness of its diverse constituents, economic partnership and developmental infrastructure.
Nominated by Dr Norma T. F., Zamboanga:
An Ateneo teacher, a mother to the youth, a friend to everyone, a sister, a loving daughter and above all a woman of prayer, rolled into one. Yes, that is Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar, the incumbent mayor of Zamboanga City.
Teacher Beng, is woman with a great heart, she has the heart of a teacher because she was once a teacher. She has the passion for empowering the teachers and the students as well. This passion is concretely shown in the programs for the teachers that include not only providing financial assistance e.g. transportation allowance for teachers, but also continuing education programs for teachers’ development. Mayor Beng has worked hard to include budget for the Professional Enhancement of Teachers (PET). This PET program started in 2015 and still is going on up to the now (2018). Almost all teachers of DepEd Zamboanga benefited much from this program. Topics such as Financial Management, Stress Management, Communication Skills Development, Spirituality, Research, and much more have helped teachers in their development.
Thank you Mayor Beng your love to the educators, for your concern and support to the teachers, and for the DepEd as a whole. God bless your heart.
Nominated by Jose Genaro R. Y.-A., Zamboanga:
Mayor Climaco’s agenda is Security, Health and Education (SHE Agenda). I will give a testimony on Education because I have been working with her in this area since 2014.
1) It was only during Mayor Climaco’s term that there was mushrooming of school buildings for the Department of Education Junior and Senior High Schools. Mayor Climaco sees to it that all public elementary and high schools of the Department of Education have enough classrooms for its pupils. Together with the building of classrooms is the building of bleachers and gymnasiums for the students’ physical education and recreational activities.
2) Another project of Mayor Climaco is the provision of Instructional Materials for the MTB-MLE teachers and pupils, specifically for grades one, two and three. Mayor Climaco provided the text-workbook for the learning of Chabacano in the MTB-MLE curriculum for the entire division of Zamboanga City. Coupled with these text-workbooks are reading materials for the different grade levels in Chabacano. Moreover, it was Mayor Climaco who initiated and established the Chabacano Orthography and produced an English-Chabacano Dictionary for all schools, and institutions in Zamboanga City.
3) Public School Teacher Training is her pet project which she calls PET (Professional Enhancement for Teachers). This project started in 2016 and 2018 is the third year of its implementation. This project trains all six thousand plus teachers of the Department of Education, Division of Zamboanga City. The areas of training are instructional materials development, instructional strategies and approaches, financial management, leadership in education, and research. The training begins in July and ends in December. All Thursdays of these months are for training of elementary teachers while the Fridays are meant for the high school teachers.
4) The Conversion of the Ayala and Vitali Vocational - Technical Schools into a Local City College named as Colegio de la Ciudad de Zamboanga is one of her priority projects.
She initiated the conversion because of the following reasons:
4.1) There are many Zamboangueno students who cannot be accommodated in the state-run colleges and universities due to quota and over-population;
4.2) There are many Zamboangueno students who could not be enrolled in privately-run universities and colleges in the city for financial reasons;
4.3) The four-year degree courses can provide better career opportunities and higher satisfaction and job security among Zamboanguenos;
4.4) The Local City College shall be able to provide quality and relevant education in order to contribute to the city, regional and national development through providing excellent quality of services in instruction, research, production, and extension.
In summary, it is the belief of Mayor Climaco that investing in human capital is beyond measure. It is unfeasible to gauge the impact of education on people’s lives. The generous support that she gives to the Department of Education in terms of Infrastructure, Provision of Instructional Materials, and Teacher Training and the free tertiary education that the city government shall provide via the Local City College, shall immeasurably produce changes in their living conditions; changes in their mindsets, attitudes and behavior, and ultimately changes that shall be able to create social structures for the betterment of their lives.
Nominated by Marisa A. W., Zamboanga:
Maria Isabelle Garcia Climaco-Salazar, Simply “Beng”.The quintessential leader, the embodiment of many qualities worth emulating; an inspiration and role model for our present and, more significantly, our future leaders - the youth- about what public service, good governance, responsible citizenship, integrity and honesty means and how it is exemplified; a woman with strong convictions and beliefs; a peacemaker able to bring conflicting and cultural diverse groups to work together to achieve common goals; an advocate for the welfare and well-being of women, children and the elderly , the displaced and disadvantaged ; she is the author of various programs and legislation promoting her advocacy one of which is the Magna Carta of Women.
Beng is intelligent, modest, compassionate, humble and always true to herself. She lives simply in a modest house financed through a housing loan, no fancy cars, no fancy garage. She is a leader with a clear untainted vision of what the needs of her city are and what it takes to firmly and courageously face her detractors, to stand tall and to focus on the business at hand to get things done.
I am a business owner. The region has experienced so much instability and uncertainty over several decades of a dictatorial regime under martial law in the 1970’s and the spread of a very aggressive separatist movement thereafter. Fear, violence and insecurity stunted economic growth in the city; investments dropped, “do not travel” advisories issued by governments.
The City was described as a hotbed of armed conflict and no one dared risk coming. In the past 5 years or so, during Beng’s two consecutive terms as Mayor of the city, the peace and order situation has remarkably improved. Business is booming, with the influx of investment and visitors. The city government has streamlining procedures to facilitate the issuance of regulatory business licenses and permits by establishing a one-stop station to cut down on bureaucratic red tape and delays. And yet, to think that a few months into office, Beng experienced what many term a “trial by fire” when heavily armed groups of dissidents assaulted the city using hostages as shields with the intent to take over the city.
The mettle that Beng displayed in dealing with the situation is admirable. The call by some was to sacrifice the lives of the hostages and once and for all end the siege by bombarding the area seized with firepower from government forces. Banks, business establishements in the city proper were closed. Beng stood firm on her belief and concern - the hostages were her constituents and their safety her responsibility. Every life was worth saving and so was the situation eventually diffused with no more lives lost. Her alliance with international humanitarian groups and governments brought in much needed help which the city would otherwise not have been able to afford. The tent city that mushroomed providing shelter to families displaced by the siege was not without problems, but the situation was relatively well handled, and judiciously addressed and in no time, resolved.
Her constituents take to her so spontaneously, as spontaneously as her interaction is with them. I have seen a group of children run to her as a they would, welcoming a much loved friend or relative and eventually lose sight of her, buried in a sea of the little ones. She has a staff of mostly young people who look like they just finished high school. My daughter had a chance to be around her and her staff and commented,” it is so nice and admirable to see her interacting with her staff just as if she were one among a group of close friends, so easily, so warmly”. I see her meeting with high government officials, foreign dignitaries, youth, women, farmers, vendors, the elderly in a wheelchair or with a cane, , turbaned minority groups, farmers, military personnel; people from all walks of life and the interaction is always so personal, one of warmth, caring,welcome and friendship. That she so easily makes people feel at ease has been a quality that has helped to readily open communication lines and make her an effective leader working in an environment where there are no cultural, racial, religious, political or generational barriers. She was appointed the Chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council by the President who is with a rival political party. Beng is an exemplary leader and serves her constituents well, more so, the inspiration and influence she is to our future leaders, the youth, is priceless and will hopefully span many generations of leaders.
For the reasons stated, Beng well deserves a vote to be awarded the “World Mayor 2018”.
Nominated by Silvie Jasmin B.-A., Zamboanga:
I would like to respectfully nominate Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City to be awarded as World Mayor 2018.
Her public service has long speak of integrity, dedication and commitment. Being a Zamboanguena, she has devoted her life to the community from being a Guidance Counselor, a high school teacher, a City Councilor, a Vice Mayor, a Congresswoman and a Deputy Speaker for Mindanao in House of Representatives, and now as a Mayor of the City of Zamboanga.
She stood ground during the 2013 Zamboanga Siege and fought for justice for all those affected families, by filing rebellion cases in the higher courts so that all those responsible of the atrocities that harmed her people, be put to trial.
Mayor Climaco paved the way for the Economic boost in the city. The challenge of putting the city back into the map had been one heavy load that she hurdled, especially after the Zamboanga Siege Crisis. But with hardwork and sound policies, investors came to the city and gave confidence on Mayor Climaco's brand of leadership.
Mayor Climaco has likewise opened more venues for tourist attraction in the city, developing some new areas for people to consider as a new tourist destination. This too has likewise created more jobs for people in the area.
She has been known for her strong advocacy in social services, even going to uptown barangays to make closer to people medical and other social services to her constituents.
All these accomplishments are feathers on her hat. But inspite of all these, she has remained humble and has continuously learn among her peers and constituents, to effectively carry out her service in the City of Zamboanga. She is indeed a World Mayor!
Nominated by Col Jose R. M. P., Pasay City, Philippines:
I have known MAYOR MARIA ISABELLE “BENG” CLIMACO when she was still a young City Councilor of Zamboanga City in 1999. I was a 1st LIEUTENANT then when I flew them to Sta Cruz Island for a Clean-up drive together with other participants from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Local Government Unit of Zamboanga City. That was the start of a good friendship until she became the city’s Vice-Mayor, a member of the House of Representatives and finally as the Mayor of Zamboanga City. Unlike other traditional politicians who knew you by name only during election period or when you are in your military uniform, Mayor BENG has that natural love to her fellowmen and the fascination of knowing an individual from her heart. My first acquaintance with Mayor BENG left me with a view of her environmentalist character. She considered God’s creation as an important and valuable treasures that everyone must protect and preserve.
Mayor BENG had shown genuine concern to the military, as he voluntarily helped in the conduct of “Stress Debriefing Seminars” (since 2004) to the military personnel, particularly from the Philippine Army and the Philippine Marine Corps who were Wounded-in-Action (WIA) after a fierce firefight with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan and Sulu. I am fortunate and honoured to be one of her models on her presentations, as I felt that in such simple way I have contributed to her cause of helping my fellow combat soldiers in the field who were in dire need of not only physical care, but most importantly of psychological care in order for them to live a normal life with their families.
As an experienced Crisis Manager during the 2013 Zamboanga Siege, she was invited to be one of our speakers during my Master in Public Management major in Development and Security iat the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) in Tagaytay City, Cavite in 2014. Mayor BENG talked about “Resiliency” of the Zamboanguenos, to continue living a peaceful life despite threats not only from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) but also from other threat groups such as the ASG. With her leadership acumen, the people strived to build back a Better Zamboanga, build back their livelihood, and build back their houses and continue living in Zamboanga City. She espoused the slogan “NO TE VAYAS NA ZAMBOANGA” (Do not leave Zamboanga), as some families left the city for fear of another attack. She encouraged the people to remain steadfast and face the challenges ahead and be united to attain peace and security in the city. Mayor BENG strongly believed that Zamboanga City is for the Zamboanguenos and that she will continue to lead in protecting her constituents from invaders, local or foreign.
Slowly, the city start to recover from the ravaged of the war. The once beautiful oval or grandstand was rebuilt. Houses in the ground zero stood-up from the rubbles. Businesses were back, and significant influx of tourist, local and foreign can be seen around the city. The opening of the KCC Mall and the small footprint of SM were clear indications that the city is back on its feet.
I nominate MAYOR MARIA ISABELLE “BENG” CLIMACO to the 2018 World Mayor, in honor of her dedication to serve the people, and care for the environment. I nominate her not as a friend, but as a fellow public servant, ready to serve and protect the people and the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.
Nominated by Marion A. C. C., Muntinlupa City, Philippines:
In doing business in Zamboanga City, our branch had several transactions with Mayor Beng Climaco. I can personally vouch that there is transparency in Local Government Unit transactions, especially concerning the Mayor's Office. Renewal of our Mayor's permit is done through a Business One-Stop-Shop, with very little waiting time. She is an example of a great mayor who has a vision for a community that encourages collaboration. She understands how vital economic development is to the region and embraces new ideas. A great communicator at heart, Mayor Beng is able to make tough decisions that aren’t always popular with everyone. She will enforce the law for the general welfare. I am confident she will take Zamboanga City to the next level if and when given the chance for a third term in Office.
Nominated Giovanni C. J. B., Philippines:
I cast my vote for Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City, Philippines.
I was assigned as the Deputy Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) way back in July 2014 - February 2016, when I was a Navy Captain. My AOR includes the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and Region 9. Our unit HQ is located in Camp Navarro, Zamboanga City.
In my 1 year and 7 months assignment in NFWM, I have seen how Mayor Beng involved all sectors of government for the peace and order of Zamboanga City. And in doing so, she made the uniformed services - Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and National Police, liaise and operate as a smooth functioning team.
She is a hands-on leader. She visits our HQ at anytime to consult on security issues. I am quite certain she does the same with the other uniformed services. Likewise, she also invites us to the City Capitol regularly to preside on conferences dealing with city events and security issues.
She is a highly-visible leader. She visits even the far-flung island barangays of Zamboanga City, risking her life in the process
She is truly an inspiration to the people of Zamboanga City. It is for these reasons that I cast my vote for Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City, Philippines.
Nominated by Ingrid M A.-M., Zamboanga:
Mayor Beng should be the World Mayor for 2018 because in her 5 yrs as a mayor she was able to give importance to health&education alongside the efforts to rise up the city when she defended & fought against siege brought about by those who wanted to take our very own City. So many displaced people were given shelter to home their family. Not only that her continues effort to protect women & children against violence & oppression have shown that women & children in our City are protected and given high importance specially that ours is a City of love & prosperity for all.
Nominated by Allen Y. G., Zamboanga:
We support the candidacy of Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco.During her first term in Office, immediately she was faced by an armed conflict, with MNLF rebels fighting the national government. She bravely led Zamboanga City to face this humanitarian crisis that lasted 20 days. As Chief local executive, she sought to free the hostages and expel the MNLF from the City. The clashes caused the displacement of more than 100,000 people, the occupation of several villages by the MNLF, the deaths of civilians, the closure of the airport and seaport, and a reduction of economic activity in the entire city. She immediately got down into business,committed to helping residents in rebuilding the city, particularly those who lost their homes. This leader has a vision for Zamboanga City and understands how public policy, public safety and city budget works. We need Mayor Climaco, a guidance counselor by profession, as she inspires, motivates, and listens to all, not just those that have good connections. She is trustworthy, ethical, proven to be resilient and compassionate. She should win the 2018 World Mayor Prize. Thank you.
Nominated by Zamboanga Investment Promotion Services:
This is our testimonial of Mayor Beng Climaco. She has risen from the ranks. Starting out as a Councillor, then Vice-Mayor, also as Congresswoman and now serving as Mayor on her second term. Her first three years on Office was spent rebuilding what Zamboanga City has lost in a twenty day siege. That surely pulled back the City for at least 20 years. Her efforts were towards infrastructure, security, health and good governance. Always sensitive to the multi-cultural dimension of Zamboanga City, she ensure representation of indigenous people in local legislation. Today, Zamboanga City is among the richest in the Philippines. Numerous awards have been received to attest to her work ethics and Zamboanga City's potentials. From being the backdoor in Southeast Asia, we are now the front door, gateway to trade between Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Truly a god-fearing leader, Mayor Beng has what it takes to be the World Mayor for 2018.
Nominated by Marie A. G., Zamboanga:
It is our honour to support the candidacy of Mayor Climaco for the 2018 World Mayor Prize. As Local Chief Executive, she manages the City through the eighteen strong Department Heads. It is common knowledge that women are traditionally looked down upon as leaders. In her 5 and a half years as Mayor, she has won more battles than usual. From natural to man-made disasters, human resource challenges, budget limitations and strong political rivalry. She bravely faces the day-to-day concerns of the City, one of the oldest, biggest in land area and population. In today's social media craze, we get all sorts of criticisms, mostly unfair, below the belt, and with very little factual bases. These would put any normal lady down. Not Mayor Beng, with pure love for the City, she manages to lead and surpass the obstacles. This Mayor speaks from the heart. In social gatherings, she requires no frills, truly a simple leader by nature. In a world where we cannot really gauge the real from the fake, Mayor Beng Climaco is one true servant of the people. Please consider Zamboanga City and our Mayor for the World.
Nominated by Col Ted L., Albury City, NSW, Australia:
I respectfully nominate and vote for Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar for World Mayor 2018 for the following reasons:
Her competence as mayor, her honesty/integrity in decision making and her leadership style of stability and grace under pressure. Just four months into her job as Mayor of Zamboanga City, Mayor Climaco-Salazar faced one of the most challenging events that transpired in Philippine history. Sometime September 2013, about 500 heavily armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front attacked the city and held hostage some 200 residents purposely to take over the city hall and declare their independence from the Philippines. I was one of the battalion commanders that fought in the Main Battle Area. It was during this period that my men and I personally saw and felt up close the leadership of Mayor Climaco-Salazar. She provided the essential direction to the residents such as keeping civilians off the streets to prevent being caught in the crossfire thereby ensuring their safety, requiring all public and private hospitals to take in and care for all that were wounded, and providing food, water and temporary shelters to the thousands who were displaced during the conflict. Her actions saved a lot of lives. As the battle raged on, she went around the city with her staff, unmindful of her personal safety, providing moral and material support to city residents. She consoled and provided assistance to the rescued hostages. She visited and provided moral and material support for wounded soldiers and policemen in the hospitals. Her deeds deeply inspired us and greatly helped us in accomplishing our given missions.
Her vision and actions of making her city a beautiful and safe place for everyone. After the infamous siege that rocked Zamboanga city, Mayor Climaco had the tremendous task of bringing the city back on its feet. Two of her programs for this that I recall are the “Build Back Better Zamboanga” and “Bangon Zamboanga”, the latter meaning “Rise Up Zamboanga”. First, she totally strengthened security by consistently and effectively coordinating her programs with us in the military sector and the police authorities as well. She resettled the thousands of affected residents during the siege, Christian, Muslim and Indigenous Peoples alike, in temporary facilities that her city could offer such as the Sports Complex. This in itself was a logistical nightmare but the mayor was able to surmount this situation with her firm resolve. Also, she had programs that were in place for the displaced residents to return to normal life. Year after year, I saw how Zamboanga City steadily recovered and transformed into the bustling and vibrant city that she is today. Local and foreign tourists abound, and there are times wherein hotels are fully booked. I was a “victim” of this experience sometime 2016 when our foreign military guests had to stay in our camp for a day or two before we could move them to the hotels because the latter are fully booked.
Her expertise in handling the business and economic affairs of the city. At various stages in my career, I resided in Zamboanga City and experienced living under the administration of different mayors in different time periods. During the term of Mayor Climaco-Salazar, I observed that a lot of investors were coming in. Examples of these were the establishment and operation of the huge KCC Shopping Mall, a first of its kind in the city. Another is the CityMall chain of malls that chose Zamboanga City for its first ever, southern Philippines branch, the CityMall Tetuan. On the health sector category, the Allied Care Experts Medical Center in currently investing in Zamboanga City with its 8-floor facility nearing completion. Tourism under her term also prominently flourished. Environment friendly resorts like the pink sanded Santa Cruz Island and the pristine Onse Islas were aggressively promoted in the international and local markets that caused an influx of tourists coming to Zamboanga City.
Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar is truly a mayor for the people and of the people in every sense of the word. Her genuine motherly, caring attitude has endeared her to residents and visitors alike. Her landslide, re-election victory for Mayor of Zamboanga city in 2016 is a testament to that.
Nominated by Aimee K. J. N.-D, Zamboanga City:
I have known Maria Isabelle Garcia Climaco Salazar since I was in high school way back 1994. She is fondly called as Beng, a daughter of two people from prominent families in Zamboanga, the Climacos and Garcias. From what I learned Beng wanted to be a nun at first. But eventually she went out of the convent and became a teacher. Aside from teaching English literature, she was also one of our Guidance Counselor that time. Beng has been one of our listening ear when my brother and I were having problems, when my father lost his job. Aside from being a teacher, she is a friend. She also has a fondness for dogs. Though she found her other half later in life, Beng has gladly taken the role of being a wonderful stepmother to her stepchildren and stepgrandchildren.
As far as I can remember, she did not really have plans of running for office until she was encouraged by her late godmother, the late mayor Caling Lobregat. From a simple teacher at the local Jesuit high school, we saw Beng rise into being one of the more prominent politicians during her time. After the city council, she has served as Vice Mayor then after which she became a 3 termer in the house of representatives. It was in 2013 when she eventually decided to run for mayor. That time, people were in doubt if Beng could really lead this city. Our city is a beautiful one, however, our area has not been spared from terrorism nor from scrupulous personalities. Some men undermined her capability just because she is a woman. But she has proven her critics wrong when she stood her ground against those who wanted to illegally occupy Zamboanga City. After the dreaded 3 week Zamboanga Seige in September of 2013, Mayor Beng has little by little help rebuilt the city to what is it today, a booming one.
It is most unfortunate just because Beng is a woman, that many of her detractors use the fact that being a woman is her weakness and her effectivity as a leader often has been measured with this. Some of her fickle minded political opponents even demean her because they say she is just originally a teacher by profession. Despite of all these, Mayor Beng Climaco - Salazar is unfazed. She is a true champion for women' s rights, of children, of senior citizens. She is truly an embodiment of what a mother of a city must be.
It is during her leadership that we have not experienced any bombing or terror attacks which we have been experiencing a lot before she sat as mayor. Health and education are some of her priorities. If you take a look at Zamboanga at present, you will not believe that we have gone thru the worst time in 2013. The economy is booming, malls have been sprouting everywhere. Her leadership has made it more enticing for businesses to flourish in Zamboanga.
It is our prayer that our dear Mayor makes it on top of your list. She it truly an embodiment of a teacher, a mother, a sister, and a tough mayor rolled into one.
Nominated by Wing Adjutant, Philippine Army:
The Tactical Operations Wing Western Mindanao (TOW WESTMIN) is mandated too plan direct and coordinate the employment of air power in support of AFP forces in Western Mindanao. For the past years TOW WESTMIN had successfully accomplished its mandated mission related to national security and development
Aside from its primordial role in security, the Wing is also involved in various developmental activities. These activities are designed to win the hearts and minds of the people; gain their willing cooperation, support, and confidence; and induce their active participation in the attainment of military objectives and national goals through intensified inter-agency collaboration.
Through intensified stakeholders’ engagements, TOW WESTMIN ably contributed to the needs of society and creates a positive image for AFP.These activities includes medical, dental and health care; ecological and environmental protection; and community assistance that are undertaken with the active participation and strong support of the Local Government Unit ably personified by Mayor Isabel “Beng” Climaco-Salazar City Mayor of Zamboaga City.
Through Mayor Climaco Salazar’s able and strong support, the TOW WESTMIN was able to conduct numerous Feeding Programs, Blood Letting activities, Coastal Clean-Up and other environmental protection activities. It is also worth noting that through the efforts of Mayor Beng Climaco, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) initiated the repair of the Zamboanga City International Airport which greatly benefited not only the Philippine Air Force (PAF) but the entire civilian aviation industry because of enhanced air operations in Western Mindanao.
Finally, TOW WESTMIN under the leadership of current Wing Commander BGEN Cresenciano A Marquez III AFP together with the strong support of Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar of Zamboanga City, peace and development in Mindanao is not farfetched. Likewise, it is this strong partnership between the military and civilian leadership which “Mayor Beng” has been pushing for greatly contributed to the country’s overall efforts in effectively addressing
Nominated by Karel, Zamboanga:
I respectfully vote for MAYOR BENG CLIMACO of ZAMBOANGA CITY, PHILIPPINES for 2018 World Mayor Prize.
I am Fr Karel, SJ, a Jesuit Catholic priest, the president of a Jesuit university. I have known Mayor Beng for more than five years, even before I became president of the university. I believe that Mayor Beng deserves this award because of the following reasons:
First, she has successfully governed one of the most challenging cities in the Philippines, Zamboanga City. This City is socio-culturally and politically complex due to its diverse population composed of different religions and tribal communities. It has experienced violent incidents in the past, the most recent of which was a siege in 2013 launched my Muslim rebel groups which displaced more than 100,000 families. It is contiguous to island provinces where there are military operations against extremist kidnapping groups.
The City continues to face challenges of inter-religious dialogue, safety and security, peace, and economic development. Amid all these, Mayor Beng has been able to lead the City toward stability and progress. The City is now recognized as one of the most resilient and competitive cities in the Philippines. It has hosted several national level events like conventions and conferences, which prove that the City has managed to move on significantly from being a dangerous city to being one that is safe and progressive. She has successfully addressed problems in poverty alleviation, social services, infrastructure, disaster risk reduction, emergency response, investment promotion, education, and other development priorities. By opening up the City to more businesses and investments, Mayor Beng has helped infuse a positive hopeful climate that helps counter any threat toward violence and conflict.
Second, Mayor Beng has managed to achieve all these through a leadership that combines grit and grace. The situation in the City demanded a leadership characterized by decisiveness, strength, political will, and even force, when necessary, especially when fighting criminal elements. Mayor Beng has managed all these through her own strong personality but with good relations with and reliance on other sectors like the military, police, private sector, and other segments of society. The other side of this capacity for grit is her grace, or her "soft skills" in relating with people with genuine sincerity, compassion, and love. Through her administration motto, "I love Zamboanga City," she is able to promote a culture of solidarity among the diverse populations, a culture that builds community that nurtures love and care for the City. She manages this through a personality that is authentic. The growing Muslim population of the City, which is about 30-40% of the total population, is perceived to be comfortable with her leadership due to this authenticity and sincerity. Unlike her political opponents, Mayor Beng has not shown discrimination agains Muslims and other religious and cultural groups in the City.
Third is Mayor Beng's unquestionable integrity in public service. As City Mayor she has practiced transparency and good governance. She has not practiced bad or traditional politics, as we call it in the Philippines, a kind of local politics that is based on patronage. She has not resorted to desperate practices like vote-buying, mudslinging, and the use of "guns, goons, and gold." She does not have a roster of politicians that is beholden to her, and for whom she promises positions once she gets elected. She is however loyal to her political party, the party of her family, and this gives her the vision and the ideological platform for responsible, pro-people, humane, and democratic governance. I say these because her political opponents are her opposites. This make her leadership in the City amazing and impressive: she is able to navigate through bad politics amid the complex contextual challenges with grit, grace, and integrity. She is able to muster support from a broad sector of the population, and collaborating with them is natural to her since her agenda is not her political survival or perpetuity, but the City's progress and development.
On a personal note, Mayor Beng graduated from our University, and has worked briefly with us as teacher and guidance counselor. She has thus imbibed the values that we uphold, among them: love and service of God and country, excellence, genuine care for others, companionship, and spirituality. She lives these out amid all the difficulties of a life committed to public service. She is a model to be emulated by the youth in our City, our country, and the world. I oftentimes wonder how Mayor Beng has remained strong and steadfast to her values and vision, and I think, at the end of the day, it may be her upbringing, her education and formation, her skills and competencies. But more fundamentally, I believe, it must be her faith in her God, which is the source of her strength, power, wisdom, and desire to serve people with utmost generosity and purity of intention. Whenever I see her pray in our University Church and in the churches of the City, I myself am inspired, for I behold a servant of God and people, driven by faith and purpose.
I believe thus, that Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City, Philippines, would be a wonderful, deserving awardee of World Mayor 2018. Thank you very much for this opportunity to vote for this award.
Nominated by Captain James S. Philippine Army:
The first encounter I had with Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City, Philippines was in September of 2013. I am not a resident of Zamboanga City but due to the nature of my work I was deployed in an Area Command of the Philippine Military located in Zamboanga City. I am currently an officer of our Philippine Army and during the time I first met and worked with Mayor Beng Climaco I was with a Special Operations Forces unit.
September 2013 was the time Zamboanga City’s resilience was tested by a rebel group who wanted to take over the City through violent means and perpetrate terroristic acts against the peace loving people of the city. I was part of the first military units to deploy and address the ongoing atrocity. This incident was dubbed “Zamboanga City Crisis” or locally as “Zamboanga Siege. From a tactical point of view I was amazed by how Mayor Beng Climaco stood her ground and was able to manage the situation and synchronize all government efforts possible to support us (troops) on the ground. I have been deployed for about five years that time and was into quite a number of combat engagements but this urban warfare with that scale was new to our forces at that time. It was very challenging but we were able to finish the Siege and prevent further escalation in just nineteen (19) days. This could have been longer if the efforts of the government from local to national level were not in unison and complimenting.
As a combatant and an officer, I have the highest regard to Mayor Beng Climaco because of this act of courage in a manner that only a few have been given a chance to experience. In addition to this, she was one of the few Government Officials I know that would really visit the sick and wounded in the station hospitals during and after the incident. I know because that’s where she was supposed to see me when I was wounded but I jumped back in to finished the fight and was able to see her during the send off ceremony of our unit. I hope that Mayor Beng Climaco be recognized for this act through this competition specially in the aspect of security and sincerity as a public servant.
Nominated by Myl Johann R. A., Zamboanga:
Her life was a poignant one, lost her mom when she was a young girl, joined a cloistered religious life and yet she was called to a life of public service. Politics despite the elation from being elevated to high office, is brutal to the heart and mind, and because of the constant struggle to be authentic and principled, she kept her faith close to her heart and kept faith with her people. Thus, she rose in dignity from city councillor, vice mayor, congresswoman and deputy speaker of the lower house of congress, and currently mayor of Zamboanga City.
In 2013, she stood firm and never vacated City Hall despite the threat of imminent attack from the rebel group MNLF. Many died, many fled, and not for one moment she hesitated in her response to the call of duty. After 5 years, this iron lady with a heart, continues her journey and has etched a place in our lives and the City we call Zamboaga Hermosa.
Nominated by Jojo A., Zamboanga:
One of the greatest Mayor of Zamboanga. She have been tested for so many times but she stood firm and fought for what is rigth for her people and for Zamboanga City. Her passion to help the people is beyond contestation.
On Sept 2013, Zamboanga was under seige where more than hundreds and thousands of individuals were affected and they have to be settled in different evacuation center. The whole sector was affected for 23 days. However, our Mayor faced this situation calmly and bravely. For 23 days our mayor never had a good sleep she made sure that all the affected family is doing well. She visited all the evacuation camps almost everyday just to see and address the needs of her people day and night , rain or shine. She would always assure her people that everything will be alright and that she will be there for them to support them. And these are just few of the many reasons why the people of Zamboanga love her so much.
One thing that our Mayor has that others does not, is that she is a true person. She serves her people not just with her brilliant mind but also with her golden heart. She treats everyone in Zamboanga as her family regardless of tribe, ethnicity and religion.
And this is the reason why Mayor Beng Climaco should win the world mayor award.
Nominated by PCI Julius, Zamboanga:
The city Government of Zamboanga is now on its peak in securing the city in coordination with different security forces including PNP and AFP units.
For the previous events to include Zamboanga Hermosa Festival and the recently concluded Undas, continuous security effort will surely gave the city a greater chance of greater investment for next year.
No Bombing Incident and Kidnap for Ransom transpired in this city which has great impact that this city is peaceful to live, work and do business.
Nominated by Joshua R. V., Zambonaga City:
Good day! I am a high school senior from Zamboanga City, Philippines.
I am writing this email in support of Mayor Beng Climaco's candidacy for the 2018 World Mayor prize. No mayor is perfect, as human nature dictates, but I believe that in light of her accomplishments and given how she stood amidst the turbulent sociopolitical climate of our city's dramatic rise and fall, she is indeed worthy of this level of recognition.
Many a fellow Zamboangueño can tell you about the rocky, hazardous path she has had to walk in the start of her career. Zamboanga was besieged by extremists just as the third quarter of the year had come to a close. It was only a few months into her term, and yet suddenly she was beset by one of the year's worst humanitarian crises. Over a hundred thousand people had been displaced and millions of pesos worth of infrastructure had been damaged to an unusable extent. The future of city development rested in the hands of her administration. In my opinion, her campaign to rebuild the city, revitalize its economy, and create an atmosphere of peace and prosperity largely succeeded.
But the reason why I am voting for her is because of my experience accompanying her to UNICEF Asia-Pacific's Growing Up Urban Surabaya (GUUS) meeting, held early May in Surabaya, Indonesia. GUUS was held to share best practices for child-centric urban development in Southeast Asia, and it was a conference in which Zamboanga City was invited. I was invited to represent the perspective of the Filipino youth as a Youth Representative, while Mayor Beng represented Zamboanga City itself.
Being in the meeting allowed me to experience firsthand Mayor Beng's commitment to her goals and focuses. She moved people in telling the story of children affected by the siege and how post-war rehabilitation and adolescent programs paid off. She also showed off the city's youth leadership programs as well as projects pursued to improve the quality of life especially of marginalized sectors. But Mayor Beng is also a listener and an observer. She took note of the best developments in other countries, and did not hesitate to ask questions in order to have an idea of how to further build upon what she has already done.
I can tell that she is a person who has a passion for making Zamboanga not only a physically safer, but also a more holistically conducive place in which people can grow and live. Perhaps my personal anecdote may seem narrow, but I am a staunch believer in the notion that making a city better for the youngest and most vulnerable makes a city better for everyone. I think Mayor Beng believes that, too. Many a person can boast of impressive accomplishments, but my experience with her alone is enough to compel me to vote.
I hope that you will take all this in kind consideration.
Nominated by Eduardo M. A., Manila, Philippines:
Principled, Firm, Visionary
That is how I would describe Mayor Ma.Isabelle “Beng” Climaco of Zamboanga City.
She had been a product of the American secondary education, finishing her high school in Parsippany, New Jersey. She finished with an education degree for Ateneo de Zamboanga University. A teacher by heart, she holds a Master’s Degree in Family Ministry and Counselling from the Ateneo de Manila University. Though she has not practiced the profession, her being a teacher, an advocate and an influencer show clearly in her leadership style. She would later on prioritize security, health and education in all her undertakings when she became the mayor.
She has served as the city’s Chief Executive after having been elected in 2013 and 2016. It was during her stint in 2013 when her resolve and grace-under-pressure were tested. The incident, dubbed as the ‘Zamboanga Siege”, placed the lady mayor in a position wherein she was able to prove her mettle. On September 9, 2013, fully armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front entered the city with the purpose of establishing an independent Bangsamoro Republic. The crisis lasted for 19 days, took about 300 lives and had displaced 109,000 people in Zamboanga City and 19,000 in Basilan, and destroyed more than 10,000 homes. Through it all, Zamboanga City managed to bounce back.
Prior to her post as the mayor, she served twice as a city councilor for Zamboanga City (1998-2001 and 2001-2003) and later on, she was elected as the vice mayor (2004). Later, public service called her to become a member of the House of Representatives. She was the youngest and the only woman deputy speaker in the 15th Congress.
She advocated for women’s rights and became one of the principal authors of RA 9710, also known as the “Magna Carta for Women”. Under her leadership as the mayor, the City Government of Zamboanga formed the Local Council for the Protection of Children and they were able to develop an agenda for children and their rights.
All in all, her leadership, resolve and dynamism pumped up the local economy despite the Siege. In 2015, the city has generated P2.3 billion in new investments which translates into almost 8,000 jobs. In that same year, Zamboanga City ranked 15th among highly urbanized cities and 14th among all cities in the Philippines in the ‘Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, climbing from the rank of 74th in 2014.
She had been a recipient of various awards and citations, both locally and internationally, with the most notable being the ‘Most Outstanding Mayor by the Philippine Federation of the Local Councils of Women”, ‘Command Plaque” from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and being a representative of the Philippines to the Global Parliament Mayors, the Hague, Netherlands.
Nominated by Lorenzo U., Quezon City, Philippines:
I am Lorenzo U., Program Officer of Galing Pook Foundation. Our organization, a non-profit development institution, has partnership and strong collaboration with the Local Government of Zamboanga City under the administration of Mayor Ma. Isabelle “Beng” Climaco.
The Zamboanga siege by the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013 left 120,000 internally displaced families (IDF) in 70 evacuation centers. This was exacerbated by the flashfloods in the following month when the number of IDFs increased further.
In the aftermath of the two unfortunate events that befell the City, the Local Government was faced by numerous problems, among them is the reported increase in child prostitution taking place in evacuation centers.
Under the leadership of Mayor Climaco, the City government implemented the program PROTEJE (local Chavacano dialect meaning protect). PROTEJE which happened to be the City’s banner program focuses on children and the youth to address the problems of child prostitution, child abuse, children in conflict with the law and teen pregnancies among others.
The City government aimed to reduce if not stop altogether incidences of violence against children in collaboration and partnership with various stakeholders. From 360 incidences in 2017, the program saw reduced incidences by 58% violence against children to 150 in 2018. But the City government under Mayor Climaco only sees the urgency of confronting and addressing the causes of the remaining reported incidences rather than the commendable success indicator.
There are other stories that bear witness to Mayor Climaco’s outstanding character as a local chief executive and her leadership qualities making her worthy of joining the ranks of World Great Women Mayors, but I opt to provide only one narrative that I have direct personal experience and knowledge of from working with Mayor Climaco.
Nominated by Katrina L., Manila, Philippines:
Beng is one of the most dynamic local government officials in the Philippines today.
But for me, she must win because of her extraordinary advocacy for the protection of the child- putting this advocacy where her mouth is, so to speak, by sending a delegation of over 150 barangay captains and other front -line workers from Zamboanga to the Ako Para Sa Bata Congress, held in Manila, every year. Saludo a Beng!
Nominated by Vandrazel M. B., Zamboanga City:
We continue to support Mayor Beng Climaco, as she is the Local Government Executive who mainstreamed the participation of the Religious Sector - Ulama (Muslim Scholars) in the City through her initiatives on countering Violent Extremism - the Good Mayor organized the Technical Working Group, that addresses the threat and potentiality of raising of VE Group in the City.
Nominated by Danilo G. P., Taguig City, Philippines:
During Zamboanga Siege from 09-28 Sept 2013, I was designated as the Ground Commander of the Main Battle Area. I have observed and seen how Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar organized her constituents and extended support and assistance to the military forces that significantly helped the early resolution of the crisis.. When the crisis on 09 Sept started, immediately, she organized the Crisis Management Committee where she was the Chairman. The committee ably provided good guidance and direction to the Zamboangeneous of what they should do to keep safe in a crisis. She was very brave and courageous in going out of his office and visiting around the city addressing the concerns of some 120,000 IDPs - their food, medicine and temporary shelters. She was tenacious talking and convincing the people to rally behind the effort of the military government in quelling the crisis..
Amidst all these, she showed courage and determination in leading Zamboangueños Muslim, Christian, and Indigenous Peoples to remain united in the cause of upholding one flag, one nation, and one Zamboanga City. In response to this challenge, her administration, together with partner agencies, humanitarian groups, and technical team, came up with the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, which aimed to Build Back Better the lives of people who were displaced.
Eight years after the Zamboanga Crisis, I have observed the significant developments that flourished in Zamboanga City.. The ones torn city due to Crisis is back on her feet again. People who were affected found their new lives again... More than anything else, the ones Ground Zero has started to stand up again...
Am proud of her leadership how she put people to work as one, how she put entrepreneurs and businessmen to put investment in the city.. Yes, the people of Zamboanga are very happy of the booming development in the area. Through her able leadership, Zamboanga stands proud and ready for further development. The last time I visited Zamboanga was sometime in August 2018. I have seen how the city has developed into quantum leap of progress... thanks to Mayor Beng Climaco - Salazar for making the dreams of the young generations come true....
Nominated by Rolly G., Zamboanga City:
I vote for Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco- Salazar for World Mayor 2018.
Her steady leadership and managerial acumen amidst myriad of challenges faced by Zamboanga City greatly help in making it one of the most resilient cities in the Philippines.
Through her efforts, there have been remarkable improvements in the security landscape in the city, which has direct impact to the influx of investments thereby benefiting the people.
Nominated by Dr Annabelle G. C., Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines:
I believe in the passion & determination of Mayor Beng to push for a progressive development in the City of Zamboanga. She was able to bring forward the city after the Zamboanga siege in 2013. Since then, she took a more open economy allowing greater opportunities for the citizenry.
Based on what I know of her, she allowed her Department Heads to make decisions showing a delegating style of management. She fully supports development in the areas of Security, Health & Education, including Environment & Economy.
Having coordinated a USAID funding project on Strengthening Urban Resilience in Growth with Equity (SURGE), Mayor Beng fully supported reducing cost of doing business such as streamlining the processes in the issuance of business permits and currently, an-going effort in streamlining the processes in issuing building & occupancy permits in the city. These initiatives were very helpful for investors coming over to the city.
In the area of urban resiliency, Mayor Beng initiated the partnership with the WWF and the League of Cities in promoting climate resiliency by participating in its program on reducing vehicle emission of fossil fuel. In addition, the city government is tracking GHG emission among its various facilities and departments. For more than 2 years now, the city government institutions are conscious in reducing GHG in their work operations.
For the first time, the city has now Environmental Planners’ Association led by her City Planning & Development Coordinator. The association is a vital mechanism in ensuring environmental considerations. The level of competencies of her staff has greatly improved with licensed planners.
In the area of interconnectivity, the City Government has been successful in organizing its ICT team that is now responsible for coming up with a web-based portal on GIS-based maps use for planning, programming, monitoring & evaluation.
Finally, the best that I know, Mayor Beng has succeeded (through her Provincial Agriculturist), in developing the value chain along cassava, where several farmer cooperatives are benefiting for better prices as these organizations are now linked with San Miguel Foods Corporation as suppliers of cassava chips. Said farmer cooperatives are now working to become a direct supplier of the said corporation.
Mayor Beng garnered several awards showing her leadership, passion and determination to serve the people of Zamboanga City. I am a witness to all these achievements. She deserves to be considered as a World Leader in her own rights.
Nominated by Dr Anton M. H. L., Zamboanga City:
Being a City Mayor of a highly urbanized Zamboanga City, a melting pot of so many cultures and religions can be quite a daunting challenge. It does not help that you are surrounded by conflicted areas. But our City Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar have time and again proven that she can be tough as a bulldog and tender as a mother hen to her constituents. If she wins this award we will not only honoring a lady world worthy of emulation by the world but also this award giving body for having her as a winner in their roster!
Nominated by Maritess S.-Q., Zamboanga:
It is rare for politicians in the Philippines not to enrich themselves while in office. Mayor Beng is one of the rare ones.
It is evident in her modest lifestyle and her strong work ethic that she is in public service because she truly wants to make a positive impact on the lives of her constituents. Zamboanga City is a melting pot of different cultures and religions, and with its fast urbanization rate, is not the easiest city to manage.
Mayor Beng, much like a mother, tirelessly and competently stays on top of everything that goes on in Zamboanga. She leads with mind and heart. Under her care, Zamboanga’s economy has flourished, despite the devastation caused by the Zamboanga Siege only 5 years ago. She deeply cares for the people she serves, regardless of culture and religion, and she champions the causes of the marginalized sectors of society. Mayor Beng is clearly trying to build a better Zamboanga for the future generations.
Nominated by Jonathan C., Zamboanga City & Manila:
Ma. Isabelle Garcia Climaco-Salazer, fondly known as Beng, is a woman of true and profound substance. As a child growing up, she constantly guided me in my few of the world. As my mentor and tutor, she has moulded me to become the best version of myself. As my god sister, her unwavering faith as a person, as woman, as a teacher and as a public servant has spelled a world of difference in our lives.
A strong advocate of women's rights, children's welfare, gender sensitivity, inclusivity, youth development, education, and cultural transformation, Beng has transformed the City of Zamboanga to one of the country's most vibrant cities with a a very lucrative economy. Women and children in the City of Zamboanga have are provided with a strong foundation of social, psychological, social, and financial support.
The youth sector has also gained its tremendous momentum in charting towards the development of strong leadership skills, leading the cities to one of the best in the world. Cultural transformation has transcended beyond borders as well as she has built in the citizens a strong peace advocacy.
Beng’s strong adherence and commitment to livelihood as well, with the expansion and desire, plans and actions to improve the competitiveness and competence of the economy of Zamboanga City has continued to transcend the lives of women in the local communities.
She has provided resources, infrastructures, and knowledge, concepts in the realm of education. With her strong advocacy in education, she has developed the skills and competence of individuals by allowing our youth to lead fuller, more meaningful lives and consequently have greater inspiration to keep on living and to fulfill their life’s goals and dreams.
Beng is indeed a woman for others, with a very strong purpose to serve. She believes that, in everything that we do, we should always put the interest of others above self and that the true meaning of life is best lived with the purpose to serve others. Her commitment and dedication as a nurturing Mayor of the City of Zamboanga where has defined transformation as service to our community and society. I will never forget her words, “We are all called to serve. We are called to serve our families and our communities, to serve from inside out, that is to lead by example and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions, by following through on our promises and our actions that are consistent with our words. Facing change as leaders in service requires a strong commitment and a belief that what all of you are doing is meaningful. Most of all, we need to lead from within, as the call to serve can come anytime, anywhere. As leaders of service, you are charged with great responsibility, time, efforts, hopes and dreams, ambitions, thoughts and insights, and a person’s sense of self and worth.”
I have learned to become better with her guidance and her love for the City of Zamboanga. Her love for the City and its people will forever be engraved in the inner recesses of the soul of Zamboanga Hermosa!
Un gran saludo y puede uste continua mas unida para servir el mejoramiento de nuestra comunidad, con fe, esperanza y amor
Nominated by Josh M., Zamboanga City:
I can imagine how challenging it is to be a Mayor of a city that is surrounded by areas in conflict in Mindanao. Yet Beng Climaco is able to keep everything together, a city that is one of the richest in the country and where developments in the past 3 years have been massive and bringing so much benefit to her constituents. This award would mean a lot to her and our entire city. A job well done for all!
Nominated by Pam S., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng Climaco has done so much for our city. Every time I visit my hometown, I see and experience progress. Businesses are booming, those that we once considered as far-flung, remote, underveloped areas are now easily accessible and very much developed.
Investments-wise, opportunities are everywhere. They are at all-time high, almost PHP 2 Billion since she became Mayor.
As an entrepreneur, I am happy to see how our city is booming with the now countless opportunities for the Zamboangueños. I am casting my vote for her, for her sincere leadership and her efficiency in making Zamboanga a better place to live in.
Nominated by E. S., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng, has displayed fortitude in the face of terrorism during the siege of Zamboanga City by elements of the Moro National Liberation Front.
From the chaos and fear that the common citizens of Zamboanga experienced from the siege, Mayor Beng restored public trust and confidence in governance. She continuous to oppose the current central administration of the Philippine government on issues detrimental to the welfare and interest of the common citizens of Zamboanga. Such as the insistence of the central administration to implement the BBL or, Basic Bangsangmoro Law. Her fight in opposing the power of the central administration in imposing the BBL, has popular support among the common citizens of Zamboanga.
Nominated by Arnel Jose S. B., Manila, Philippines:
I first met Beng Climaco when I was invited to speak and facilitate a leadership seminar for Muslim Youth leaders sometime in 2005-2006 in Zamboanga City. She was one of the speakers. She was young, down to earth and easy to talk to. She had a certain vibe that was approachable and caring. It was later during the workshop I realized she was the incumbent Vice Mayor of Zamboanga City.
After the seminar, the youth leaders and I had a heart to heart conversation at one of the parks in the city about the conditions of Muslims in the Philippines. Beng Climaco joined us and we started talking about the future of Muslims. Beng said she will help in whichever way she can to provide equal opportunities to everyone. The young participants listened intently to everything that was being discussed.
Years later, Beng would serve as Member of the House of Representative and Mayor of her beloved city. She remains the same proactive, humble, energetic and full of ideas. I hope there will be more leaders like her in the world.
Nominated by Oliver C., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng is passionate for public service and has contributed a lot to the betterment of our city. She knows the needs of her fellow men and has never failed to provide for all these needs. She demonstrated exemplary leadership and commitment during the 2013 siege and was able to help us get through this difficult time.
During all of these crisis, Mayor Beng has been in frontline, tirelessly working to get services restored, displaced people accommodated, and providing endless updates. She has strived and is very successful addressing security concerns, thus making our city a safe place to live. She accepts everyone and works together with people regardless of religious background, gender, colour and socio economic status. She extends help not only to the senior citizens but most especially for the children who are the future of our city. And she does all of the above because she loves Zamboanga City very much.
Nominated by Joffrey T., Quezon City, Philippines:
I am Cpt Joffrey S T, presently assigned with the Office of the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines.
I knew Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar when I was assigned in Zamboanga City. I saw her leadership with a strong will and determination for the betterment of lives of her constituents. The greatest challenge she face during the Zamboanga Siege when the secessionists attempted to grab power by creating chaos and sow fear and terror in the city.
Being a lady she stood firm to solve the crisis, which lasted for more than twenty one days. Likewise, as the center and commercial hub of ZAMBASULTA (ZAMBOANGA, BASILAN, SULU and TAWI TAWI) area. She's the catalyst for change to improved the economic growth and living quality of Zamboanga City.
Making sure that the peace and order situation within the city is paramount due to diverse culture. Admirably with her working ethos. She was selected by President Duterte to be the head of the Regional Peace and Order Council of the Region 9.
Nominated by Dr Reynaldo C. N., Zamboanga City:
Dear Jurors: I am respectfully endorsing the nomination of Hon. Maria Isabelle G. Climaco, City Mayor of Zamboanga City, Philippines to be recognized and adjudge as one of the World Mayors in 2018, considering her strong advocacy and efforts to protect, conserve, develop and manage the conservation areas in her beloved city.
As specific example of her efforts, she negotiated with the USAID funded Protect Wildlife Activity, a 5-year Biodiversity Conservation initiative, managed by DAI Global LLC in collaboration with the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), covering Zamboanga City and Sulu Archipelago. As results, updating the Management and Development Plans of Pasonanca Natural Park and the Great & Little Sta. Cruz Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape made possible and are now close to completion.
She also requested USAID Protect Wildlife in the formulation of the Forest Land Use Plan of Zamboanga City and now it is almost complete. Recently, shed also requested for the updating of the Watershed Management Plans of the 2 critical watersheds in Zamboanga City namely, Ayala and Manicahan Watersheds. Likewise, the assessment and formulation of management plan of the mangrove forestlands in Barangays Mampang, Talon-talon and adjoining barangays.
Through her leadership, Protect Wildlife in collaboration with the City Government of Zamboanga moved for the creation of the inter-agency Zamboanga City Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Task Force (ZCAWTTF) responsible for wildlife and environmental law enforcement in the transshipment points in terrestrial areas, while, strengthening the Composite Fishery Law Enforcement Team (CFLET) for fisheries and aquatic resources law enforcement.
Several personnel of the city agriculture office trained by USAID Protect Wildlife and were deputized by her as City’s Fishery Law Enforcement Officers responsible for on-site enforcement mechanism.
In view of the above, the undersigned reiterate his formal endorsement and unequivocal support for the City Mayor of Zamboanga City to be adjudge as one of the World Mayors in 2018.
Nominated by Carmina A., Makati City, Philippines:
I am writing to endorse a highly qualified candidate, Mayor Beng Climaco, as World Mayor 2018. As a woman with a diverse background, she has exceeded the challenging requirements and expectations for the award. Mayor Beng has been a staunch champion of women and children’s rights, a supporter of HIV prevention activities and an advocate for LGBT rights. I have followed her career path from her early engagement with socio-cultural affairs as a local councilor to her years in congress and her current role as Mayor.
Her major and significant involvement as one of the principal authors and the subsequent passage of the Magna Carta for Women, her support for local HIV programs and LGBT rights were relevant achievements since these provided an opportunity to witness her intelligence, efficiency and effectiveness at work. Apart from her other outstanding accomplishments, these three (3) achievements helped control the rapid increase of HIV in the city and its concomitant effect on health systems, economy and public image.
Another significant contribution is her management of the Zamboanga siege, a painful experience of the local residents who witnessed carnage and terror in their homes. She handled the situation very well and managed to navigate the perceived world of men military operations, terrorism and conflict resolution in a stellar fashion.
As a native Zamboangueña and as the Local Chief Executive, Mayor Beng has earned the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom she continues to serve.
I strongly endorse her nomination as World Mayor 2018.
Nominated by JLM, Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng has done meaningful contributions to the City of Zamboanga, specifically her projects on Senior Citizens, PWD and the Marginalized Sector which brought significant changes to their lives.
Nominated by Rapa L., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng Climaco has courageously led her city from the destruction caused by an attempted takeover of the city hall by misguided rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front. She immediately established a rehabilitation program and an environment of cooperation that enabled collaboration among stakeholders to initiate projects in resettlement, health, education and livelihood development that helped the city rise up from the ashes of conflict.
Nominated by Joaquin C., Zamboanga City:
My family is one of the oldest families of Zamboanga City and I have seen a great number of city mayors administer this historic city with varying degrees of success and effectiveness.
I may not always agree with Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar and her administrative policies but I totally admire the honesty and sincerity of her public service. It reaches not only to the high and the mighty - she is respected even by members of the Opposition- but more so to the poor and marginalized of the City.
I personally witnessed one incident that arrests to this sincere concern when Mayor Beng visited the K-9 quarters of the Coast Guard in the City. It is well known how much she loves dogs and she is the K-9’s number 1 fan. What I saw that remained in my memory was a pair of very young and scruffy street vendors who confidently called out to her, and she responded by calling them by their names and beckoning them to come over. I have never seen a reunion so warm! The children embraced her like she was a relative that has been missed and she embraced them back, happy to see them. Then she inquired about their family in detail. It seems these children came from one of the refugee families she had helped resettle. That proved to me that the poor she helps are not numbers to her but people and human beings she is concerned about.
Moreover, in this time when politicians are perceived as opportunists and corrupt, the Mayor continues to live the lifestyle of the schoolteacher she once was. Her modest home sits in her grandparents’ compound. There are no high concrete walls. It could be any citizen’s home. Visitors from other places find it hard to believe she lives in that simple residence, used as they are to bunker-type and palatial homes of public officials.
She is in public service because she is there to help her City and its citizens.
Nominated by Michael L. Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng has led the city to great heights and improvements. We've seen better standing with our ease of doing business ratings since she became Mayor. She has also handled the Zamboanga siege quite well even though it was only within 100 days from taking office. She leads the city with heart and compassion and you can tell her love for her constituents. She really deserves all the honor and praise and I am proud to have her as our Mayor.
Nominated by S.T., Zamboanga City:
Dear Organizers, I am voting for Mayor Beng Climaco to the World Mayor 2018 selections.
In September 2013, the City of Zamboanga faced the biggest challenge when a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) attacked the City. Thousands were displaced and it was indeed declared a humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian agencies came in to provide support to the city Government. I was one of the staff deployed in Zamboanga until 2015.
I personally saw how the Mayor worked so hard and tirelessly to ensure that humanitarian needs of the IDPs are addressed in a timely manner. She leads the coordination mechanism that regularly meets to discuss prevailing issues and concerns and take actions. She meets the IDPs in various camps and sites to talk with them and personally answer questions from the IDPs. The situation may not be ‘friendly’ at times during the community consultations but she would still come down and reach out to her affected constituents. She receives feedback from the humanitarian agencies and takes immediate action on those matters.
The Mayor has an effective and efficient team/heads of agencies supporting the humanitarian response, mainly because they also have a very committed leader behind them. She is a strong women and children’s advocate through her administration’s programs for women and children in the city. She is very supportive of the education sector by providing unprecedented programs for education of the children and youth in the city. The Mayor is also a strong supporter of the health sector giving priority on health programs as well. Given that the city has diverse peoples and cultures, she ensures that they are united in developing the city together amidst the difficult times they encountered on her term as a mayor of the city.
I fervently hope that she will win this well-deserved nomination. Thank you.
Nominated by Ruth Y. O., Zamboanga City:
In Sept 2013, a few months after Mayor Beng Climaco was sworn in as Mayor of Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Siege happened. It was an armed conflict between the forces of the Philippine government and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front that lasted 17 days and displaced more than 100,000 people.
It’s such a big job to be thrown at anyone, but Mayor Beng rose up to the challenge. She was out there coordinating with the Military on security measures, Ensuring that the internally displaced people have food and places to stay for the duration and that the City is back on track.
She has shown a lot of Courage and Grit many times. She is able to unite people of different fath and culture to ensure lasting peace for Zamboanga.
Mayor Beng hired the best people to work with her in running City Hall in the most efficient way possible. She is result oriented. I remember dealing with her on my hydropower project in Manicahan and she convened the Watershed Management Council to get our project moving. Her values are intact and She is warm and sincere in dealing with people and it’s no surprise that she is well-loved by her constituents.
Nominated by Oliver N. O., Zamboanga City:
• It is not easy to run a highly urbanized city like Zamboanga, which is constantly threatened by security concerns due to unrest in the neighboring islands.
• It is not easy to run a city that is becoming more culturally diverse and make it inclusive.
• It is not easy to address problems inherent to a robust local economy like road discipline and traffic, unstable power, human development.
But Mayor Beng Climaco did an excellent job in addressing security concerns, frustrating attempts from bad elements to destabilize the city.
She has been consistent in being sensitive to various cultural groups as well as to women, seniors and the youth. Mayor Beng gives importance in ease of doing business in the city while continually addressing daily challenges to make Zamboanga progressive, inclusive and safe! Cheers to Mayor Beng!:
Nominated by Jonathan A. B., Zamboanga City:
I have known Mayor Climaco when she was a third termer, No. 1 Councillor of Zamboanga City in 2004. We met in the chapel of the Carmelite Sisters because she goes there for worship, guidance and for peace and tranquillity when the going gets rough in her political career. I found her to be simple, soft-spoken but firm, and full of conviction that those who have less in life should have more in rights.
The advocacies that she espoused and continue to do so until the present have consistently been on the areas of Security, Health and Education. As a lady mayor who saw her city besieged by separatist Muslim Militia, she used her feminine genius to defend the city, calling on the National Government to take over since most actors in the crisis situation have multiple alliances and connections with both parties, the Muslim secessionist armed groups, and the officials and people of Zamboanga City. It simply was too difficult for locals to handle the situation alone. Amidst the babel of voices that wants the crisis approached in various and sometimes conflicting ways, she stuck to what she believed was best for her constituent and the city she served. Her decision was vindicated by the many awards, citations and invitations as speaker on crisis management in various fora that she received, and continues to receive afterwards.
She is also particularly involved in Health concerns of her city. As a woman whose instinct is to keep all those in her care, healthy and energetic, she invested energy, resources and time to uplift the health conditions of the people of Zamboanga. She does not discriminate but allowed the city's resources to be enjoyed by a wide and diverse number of constituents. Christians, Muslims and lumads alike. She has particular concerns on the health needs of pregnant mothers, babies and the LGBTQISA (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Queer, Inter Sex and Asexuals) in her city.
She is also a great believer in the power of Education as a catalyst for development and social change. She has invested the greater part of the funds at her disposal in giving scholarship grants to poor but deserving students. Her scholars have carved a name for themselves in the field of Public Service, Politics and the private professional sectors as responsible young individuals who are now partners of government in social change.
As a side note, the leadership style of Mayor Beng has been characterized by sound and rational planning, consensus-building, participative governance and sincere public service. She has maintained a simple lifestyle that in her tenure as a public servant in all these years, she has never been accused of enriching herself at the expense of public service.
She is well loved by the marginalized and vulnerable members of society. The elderly, women, children, the differently-abled and the members of LGBTQISA have kind words on her concern and care for their welfare. The lumads and the Muslim brethren also found a reliable and constant ally in their quest for self-determination as unique minorities but indispensable citizens of the Republic of the Philippines.
She is also in the helm of beautifying the city of Zamboanga believing that environment engineering could influence the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the populace. Thus she supports the city planning of Zamboanga, advocating a Defense by Design approach to urban planning taking into account the vulnerability of the city from external and internal threats. Also, parks and other pockets of greens and flowers are incorporated as well as public spaces of wellness and relaxation.
Because of these, and so much more, I believe that Mayor Maria Isabelle "Beng" Climaco, deserves to be honored as a woman World Mayor for 2018.
Nominated by Carmeli Marie C., Quezon City, Philippines:
Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar led the residents of Zamboanga in the recovery after the armed conflict in the city in 2013. As the head of the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC), Mayor Beng Salazar steered the DRRMC in humanitarian and capability building activities of displaced groups. With the assistance of UNHCR and UNICEF, she made sure that child and women friendly spaces were set up in both transitional sites and permanent settlements. Even the design of the dwelling units and resettlement plan benefitted from consultations with local communities, such as the Dar ul Ifta, IDP Volunteer Action Center and Al Mu’ minaat Foundation, a Muslim women’s organization.
Mayor Beng Salazar supported the organization of internally displaced persons and had frequent consultations with affected groups, such as the Partabangan ha Kasisi, chaired by the Hon. Councilor Myra Abubakar. In dialogues with Muslim women’s organizations and IDPs, Mayor Salazar herself led the discussions and addressed issues raised by them. This hands-on approach was critical in a post-conflict situation where the displaced communities needed to be assured by a credible leader that the humanitarian efforts will be fair and fast.
She was apparently trusted by the residents, having consistently supported child protection and women empowerment issues in her early days as a politician. The mayor issued instructions for the Zamboanga Roadmap to Recovery and Rehabilitation shelter plan and housing designs to integrate the women’s concerns, especially access to their livelihood.
Mayor Climaco is an example of a woman leader helping her constituents survive against all odds.
Nominated by Michael R. B. D., Zamboanga City:
Back in high school, some over 20 years ago, I would light up each time I talk to our guidance counsellor. In her beaming aura, and infectious smile, she would say the right things at the right time; as if to spiritually communicate that all is well, God is with me, and that she’d always be there if I allow her to be. She saw me as someone with potential, and so much to give.
A few years after, after taking a break from law school and re-assessing my career path, I chanced upon her in the same school grounds. I was based outside Zamboanga after high school, so it was about seven years since we last talked. She asked, ‘Quosa tu ta ase aqui?’ (What are you doing here?). I said, ‘No hay (nothing), taking a break from law school. As if reading my mind, she just said, ‘Come work for me.’ And so I did, as her communications and executive assistant/ researcher. It was a jumble of job titles, because working for her means you will be doing anything and everything for the good of the office. She was then the incumbent vice mayor of the city, the first female (if I am not mistaken) to hold such office in the history of the city.
Under her mentorship, I realized a lot about myself, and what I was capable of. With the opportunities and challenges she gave me, I became a better person with purpose. She would always complain about the burning passion of fire she needed to see in my eyes, that they were lacking and that I would need to be more, so I could do more. She raised the level of standards of work ethic. I saw that in her everyday in and out of the office, our conversations inside the car heading to meetings, and every time in between. Because of her, I was able to organize an (OSY) out-of-school youth program which provided opportunities for the OSYs to earn income through agriculture thru partnerships with DENR for the plant seeds, BPI Bank for financial literacy, and generous landowners who loaned their idle lands for free for the OSYs to cultivate. We were active with making the dreams of the children of Zamboanga a reality, in ways we could. Also, women empowerment, and her preference to help improve the lives of the people of Zamboanga through connecting people, creating opportunities, and local legislations.
She has moved and touched many lives, helped a lot of people for a long time, and stood firm and grounded and never letting go of the vision of a safe, and prosperous Zamboanga City. She was my guidance counsellor, my mentor, and my hero. I used to remember her always saying, ‘think globally, act locally’ when people around seem to lose focus; and ‘busca manera!’ (Find ways!), when people around her seem to lose hope. She led me to the right direction, and instilled in me that there is always hope, and that I have to find ways to always to realize my goals, with burning passion in my eyes, and preferential option to serve. She is a true friend, a world-class act, and my mayor - Mayor Beng Climaco.
Nominated by Camilo G. G., Zamboanga City:
I vote for Mayor Beng Climaco as World Mayor 2018.
Mayor Beng is an exceptional and compassionate leader. She steered the development of Zamboanga City amidst peace and order, multi-cultural diversity challenges.
During the Zamboanga siege in 2013, she rallied her constituents to help and welcome displaced families and maintain calm despite threats of violence and harm.
She developed enabling environment for communities to participate in governance and inspired confidence among investors to develop and create opportunities for her constituents.
Mayor Beng has always been and is an exemplar of public service. Well liked and loved by us, her constituents and wish her all best in her life of public service.
May all her accomplishments deserve recognition befitting as World Mayor.
Nominated by Cris, Davao City, Philippines:
I have had the rare opportunity to have worked closely with Mayor Beng, directly on matters concerning children and women. In an extremely diverse and complex context like Zamboanga City -- multi-ethnic, different terrains, security-challenged - it will be easy for any Mayor to de-focus from children, but not Mayor Beng.
In her term and coming at the heels of a major conflict emergency and the resulting internal displacement, Mayor Beng has provided clear leadership and convening prowess to put various critical stakeholders together in one table who agree to put the children and young people of Zamboanga at the core of its development. My two years working with her and her dynamic team to advocate for children's rights, protection, development and participation has been a victorious time for women and children and led to the strengthening of systems and mechanisms that put children first.
Mayor Beng listens, takes action based on broad consultation, and yet acts swiftly and with decisiveness to address the needs of the most vulnerable, and bring to light the concerns of the marginalized. Zamboanga City is in very caring hands with her at the helm. Her being chosen as World Mayor will, no doubt, convey a strong argument for children and women elsewhere in the world.
Nominated by EGO, Zamboanga City:
Zamboanga my beloved city is a diverse and culturally rich city. Mayor Beng has brought in a lot of enterprise thus unifying our town. Jobs were created and opportunities opened. She is indeed worthy of all our votes because of the progress she has brought in our city.
Nominated by Ron J O., Zamboanga City:
I’ve known Mayor Beng since she was a guidance counselor at my school. During the time i had problem with one of my grades which is mathematics my weakness among all the subject. She said something that inspired me and from there on I never flunk a single subject graduated high school and college on time. One summer i joined one of her summer workshop at the city council when she was still the vice mayor, again it inspired me not only by her words but by her action to do the best that i can and she is very instrumental in developing my leadership as an elected youth leader on my BARANGAY which i won one of the most outstanding youth leader in our city and the following year one of the most outstanding youth in the Philippines. Mayor Beng Climaco is one of the few politicians that i look up that is so rare to find now a days.
Nominated by Cherryl O., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Maria Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar deserves to be recognized because of her resilience, courage, leadership, sincerity and patriotism. She had overcome numerous challenges since she had become the Mayor of Zamboanga City.
In the midst of seemingly divisive city of Christians and Muslims, she is steadfast in maintaining unity despite of differing faith and beliefs. While the Zamboanga City Siege by armed bandits was the initial hurdle followed by typhoons that struck the southern Philippines, she rose up to the challenge which eventually resulted in the full bloom of Zamboanga City. New business establishments are now in place, which is a testament of trust and confidence in the leadership of Mayor Climaco.
Truly, she deserves the distinction, not only because of her achievements but most specially her character that implored the people of Zamboanga City to re-elect her and entrust her as the chief executive of their beloved city.
Nominated by JMSZC, Zamboanga City:
Mayor BENG CLIMACO, a woman of substance, an amazing leader who brought our torn city (devastated from the siege in September 2013, barely two months in the office as a Mayor) to a bustling & enterprising place today, full of hope and a bright future ahead. The convergence of the different cultures in the city is a big challenge for a great leader like Beng Climaco, but because of her great love for her people, peace is gaining grounds which we are enjoying these days. She exudes strength, dignity & charisma, truly a leader & a servant rolled into one. Kudos to our dear Mayor Beng!
Nominated by JCB, Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng deserves to win as World Mayor 2018 because of her significant achievements under her SHE (Security, Health and Education) priorities. These include but are not limited to:
• Security: Defending the City of Zamboanga during the Siege and rebuilding the city after. Filing appropriate cases in court against the lawless elements responsible for the loss of lives and property, this despite repeated threats on her life; Tightening security measures leading to an improved peace and order situation
• Health: Prioritizing the wellbeing of the general population through medical and burial assistance; Launch of the Largo Vida Program which provides maintenance medicines for hypertension and diabetes for senior citizens ( a first in history of the city) Concern for the health and wellbeing of the City Government’s employees, as much as possible, encouraging them to finish their work by 5pm so they can be with their families, realizing the importance of work-life balance in boosting employee morale and productivity.
• Education: Close collaboration with the Department of Education to provide basic needs for students. These include: Hiring of teachers under the Local School Board Utilization of the SEF for the purchase and donation of chairs and other school supplies. Continuous implementation of the PET Professional Education for Teachers. Aside from those mentioned above, her other remarkable achievements include:
1) A more business-friendly and open climate/environment leading to the increased number of investments in the city during her term, most notable of which are the KCC Mall, the biggest mall in the region; the soon-to-open SM Mall, the construction of ACE Hospital and others, resulting to a more vibrant economy, creating more employment and other business opportunities for its residents and those of the neighboring provinces;
2) Booming Tourism: The development and promotion of two very popular destinations that have greatly contributed to the dramatic increase in tourist arrivals: the now world-famous Sta. Cruz with its pink sand, and the newly “discovered” Onse Islas (Eleven Islands)
3) Promotion of sports with the City reaping awards and recognition nationally and internationally, the highest of which was the Olympic silver medal won by Hidilyn Diaz in the 2017 Rio Olympics.
4) Focus on PWD, women and child protection.
5) Social services made available to all 98 barangays through the Dia de Alcalde
6) The opening of new roads, etc.
Nominated by Leonel N., Zamboanga City:
Mayor Beng Climaco deserves to WIN the 2018 World Mayors Prize for so many reasons.
As the City Mayor of Zamboanga City, she makes sure that the peace and security situation remains stable until this date after the infamous attack of rouge armed men in 2013. In doing so, she sees to it that despite the very diverse culture of the people, unity and cooperation among them are practiced through her inter-cultural and pro-people government programs.
With Security as one of her governance platform, and being the Chairperson of the Regional and City Peace and Order Council, she ensure the different security units such as the Armed Forces, Police and other Security Agencies must work hand in hand to maintain the peace and order in the region. The various security resolutions passed during her incumbency as Chairperson greatly overturned the security landscape positively, thereby provided confidence to different business entities and attracted the influx of both local and international tourist to visit the region. In fact, it is during her stint as Chief Executive that Zamboanga City recorded ZERO Bombing and Kidnapping for the longest time.
I am a living witness to her dedication to keep the living condition of her constituents to be always at best. The very energetic Chief Executive works round the clock to visit far flung areas of the City to see for her self the needed services and programs for her constituents.
I have been assigned in this region for 20 years as a military officer, can attest that Mayor Beng Climaco is the Best Mayor of Zamboanga City so far. Hence she deserves to WIN the 2018 World Mayors Prize.
Nominated by Rina, Zamboanga City:
I vote for Beng Climaco. Our family has known her as a very caring and selfless person throughout.
We are very proud of what she has been doing to improve the lives of our Fellow Zamboanguenos . Our region is one of the most dangerous places in the Philippines and it is very challenging for any leader to lead well. Beng took on the role to ensure that our voices will g heard to gather up the right support for our province to rise above the difficult times where we are plagued by radicalism and the threat of peace and security.
Nominated by Mario T. C., Zamboanga City:
Zamboanga City Philippines Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco is in her 2nd term. After newly assuming office in 2013, the City was invaded by rebels fighting for recognition from the national government. The 20-day siege claimed over 100 lives, placed ZC in a bad light and regressed the local economy. Barely 5 years after, today you will see a highly urbanized city with a steady influx of investors, both local and foreign. Through her open economy policies, we see more businesses setting up, new players coming in and condence in the local government. Incentives are offered to key priority areas: agribusiness, IT, power. These dramatically increased jobs generated in ZC. Her administrations budget prioritizes security,health,education.
ZC Mayor Climaco has the skills and leadership to bring ZC to greater heights, benefiting the constituents.
Nominated by Nelia R., Zamboanga City:
For the entire month of September 2013 that the City of Zamboanga was under siege by armed and trigger-happy rebels, they did not expect that the comely and soft-spoken woman in City Hall had the guts and steely resolve to face them down. But Mayor Beng Climaco- Salazar took back control of the City, without sacrificing civilian lives. In the months that followed, she worked hard to restore the City to normalcy and to bring back investors’ confidence. Zamboanga City ranks 5th in the entire Philippines in terms of financial resources.
The Mayor is not all business and bravery - she has a big heart. She made sure that the thousands of conflict refugees were not abandoned once peace was restored and insured programs were in place for them to return to normal life. She makes children’s welfare a priority, often scheduling visits to the City’s schools to dialogue with the students and their teachers (she was a teacher and counsellor in her previous life) and to seek solutions to problems faced by their schools. The poor of Zamboanga City has access to emergency assistance through the simplified procedure set up during her term. Zamboanga City has a caring mayor that looks to improve the life of its citizens by making Zamboanga a great City to live and invest in.
Nominated by Julie U. C., Zamboanga City:
Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco should definitely be the forerunner in the 2018 World Women Mayor competition. She is humble, god-fearing, industrious, virtuous, respectful, but at the same time, strong and empowered. She would not have lasted very long after the 2013 Zamboanga siege, were she made of lesser mettle! In the midst of that war, and with the world watching critically, and amongst national leaders, the military, police, rebel groups, religious leaders all thrown into the fray, she managed to hold her own ground.
Mayor Beng Climaco is that compelling combination-seemingly soft, but possessing inner strength and character. These qualities make her a much loved personality among Moslems and Christians, and among the different tribes/communities in the city.
Mayor Beng Climaco is the epitome of a wise leader. She builds her house (her city) humbly and quietly. Hers is the voice the city and the world should heed.
Nominated by J.O., Quezon City, Philippines:
I am amazed how she manages the southern part of Philippines which is known to be unruly before. Under her management she was able to do a lot of improvement to the city. Im from the northern part of the philippines and i wish to have a mayor like that.
Nominated by Marius S., Zamboanga City:
Because of this woman more jobs has been offered, More opportunities for Zamboangeuños. Because before there's no progress in our city. But during her term, everything has changed and we all know Zamboanga city is not safe but during her term zero bombings and kidnappings. She is the best mayor after her uncle died.
Nominated by Kuku T. L., Zambonaga City:
Mayor Beng Climaco is a remarkable woman who stood tall and unafraid in the many life-threatening situations that she faced as the Mayor of Zamboanga City. Her soft-spoken manner belies the steel and fire that run through her persona which cuts every situation into chunks of data that can be addressed with strategy and actions.
In her governance, she brought in the discipline of a teacher and made sure that her team sees the context of the issues and then squeezed out the logic of the approaches that would bring the most appropriate action.
She works closely with the people. She understands how to work on the social correlates in order to muster participation. Up close, I saw her balance her left brain with her right brain and come up with actionable management decisions that brought Zamboanga City out of the tight spots it had mercilessly been through.
She is a woman with frighteningly large “balls” who would go where angels fear to tread falling off crashing bridges and coming up as primly and daintily as she could muster. That’s Mayor Beng!