ZAMBOANGA CITY – Mayor Beng Climaco of Zamboanga City in southern Philippines has been chosen as among “Top 5 World’s Best Mayors” by the prestigious City Mayors Foundation.
Climaco, a multi-awarded politician, was named along with Valeria Mancinelli, Mayor of Ancona, Italy who is the Winner of the 2018 World Mayor Prize; Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, UK; Nathalie Appéré, Mayor of Rennes, France; and Charlotte Britz, Mayor of Saarbrücken, Germany.
In its award to Climaco, the City Mayors Foundation heavily cited the local mayor for her commitment to offer Zamboanga harmony, security and prosperity. “Shortly after being elected in 2013, Climaco was confronted with an armed uprising by Islamic rebels. Parts of Zamboanga City were under siege for 19 days and by the time government forces had defeated the rebels, 183 people had died and more than 120,000 residents were displaced.”
“During her first term in office, Climaco made it her priority for the victims of the attack to receive justice and compensation. She has also been determined to heal any divisions between the city’s Christian and Muslim communities. The Inter-Religious Dialogue Council, she convened, has been successful in promoting peace. In a city, which was often perceived as violent, there have been no bombing or kidnapping incidents since 2016. In 2017, Mayor Climaco’s administration won the award for the most improved local government,” the philanthropic international research think tank dedicated to local government, said.
In a series of personal essays, the finalists for the 2018 World Mayor Prize described the reasons that motivated them to enter politics, the challenges they face as mayors and how they envisage their towns and cities to develop and prosper in the future. They stress the importance of women in politics and urge young women always to aim high.
In her essay, Climaco describes how the values of family members formed her political and social beliefs. “My grandmother was a champion of Filipino women’s right to vote and it was from her, we all learned the value of community service.”
She also wrote that in times of crisis her faith in God sustained her. And today, Zamboanga is the 4th Most Resilient City in the country as recognized by National Competitiveness Council or NCC.
NCC also adjudged Zamboanga City, First Place as “The Most Improved Local Government Unit” in 2017 among 33 Highly Urbanized Cities throughout the country and among 145 cities nationwide, Zamboanga also ranked 16th in “Overall Competitiveness” category.
Climaco, who is seeking re-election in the May polls, was also recognized as the “Most Outstanding Mayor” by the Federation of Local Councils of Women in the Philippines in 2017. These awards and rankings were based on indicators and measurements such as economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency. These recognitions are feats never before achieved by any administration.
The City Mayors Foundation said it awards “The World Mayor Prize and Commendations” every two years to mayors who have made outstanding contributions to their communities and have developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world. (Mindanao Examiner)
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