Beng Climaco, Mayor of Zamboanga City, Philippines, since 2013
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. Qualities sought ||| |Beng Climaco, Mayor of Zamboanga City, Philippines, has been shortlisted for the 2018 World Mayor Prize. ||| Vote for Mayor Climaco |||

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Nominations for
Beng Climaco
Mayor of Zamboanga City (Philippines)

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!