Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar: XU-Ateneo de Cagayan Fr. William F. Masterson SJ Awardee

Apr 6, 2014

by Ma. Elena L. Paulma, Ph.D.


In recognition of her exceptional work  in local governance and public service, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan  conferred the Father William F. Masterson S.J. Award on Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar during the 27 March 2014Convocation for the University’s 75th Commencement Exercises 2014  held at the XU gymnasium.


XU Pres Fr Bobby Yap confers the Fr William Masterson SJ Award on Zambo City Mayor Beng Climaco

It was Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar who stood firm and calm against the Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) demand to hoist the MNLF flag at the Zamboanga City Hall in the recent MNLF siege of the city. It was she, the former Carmelite novice, guidance counselor, and teacher, who rallied the Zamboangueños to rebuild their city in the aftermath of the siege.


True to her inner vocation as an Education and Family Counseling graduate of two Ateneos (de Zamboanga and Manila), her landmark legislative measures include the Child Internet Protection Ordinance, the Gender and Development Program, the Implementation of R.A. 7192, and the Multi-Sectoral Anti-AIDS Council which brought awards to Zamboanga City, including the Trailblazer Award of the prestigious  Gawad Galing Pook.

Circulo Zamboangueno turns over proceeds of benefit concert to Mayor Beng Climaco


As a two-term Councilor of the City of Zamboanga, she filed 858 council resolutions that sought to address her major advocacies on women, family, youth, children, education, livelihood and social welfare.


Recognized locally and globally for her exceptional feat in local governance, she was awarded the International Visitor Leadership Program, the American Council for Young Political Leaders, the Hubert Humphrey Scholarship Program, and a Rotary International Presidential Citation from the Rotary Club of Metro Zamboanga during her incumbency as Club President.


She became Head of the Delegation of the Philippine Council of Young Political Leaders to the International Exchange Program of the Australian Political Exchange Council in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, Australia, and also became the Co- Head of the Philippine Delegation and a Resource Person in the 8th International Conference of AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


In 2004, she won by a landslide and garnered the highest votes in the history of the city, making her the youngest and first elected lady Vice Mayor of Zamboanga City. During her watch, the City Council of Zamboanga was adjudged as the Second Most Outstanding Council in the entire Philippines. She was voted as Zamboanga City’s 1st District Representative to Lower House in the 14th Philippine Congress in May 2007, giving her the distinction of being the first Congresswoman to occupy the post.


Mayor Beng with El Circulo Zamboangueño

Despite being a neophyte member of the 14th Congress, she became vice chairman of the committees on Women, Local Government, the Special Committees on East Asian Growth Area, and the Special Committee on Education and Welfare of Special Persons. She filed the House Bill seeking the Magna Carta of Women in this Congress which was passed as a law last August 2009. She spearheaded the Lady Legislators of the 14th Congress, launching the Pink October, the first-ever Breast Awareness and Prevention Campaign in the House of Representatives. She was re-elected as 1st District Congresswoman of Zamboanga City during the May 2010 first automated polls, serving her co-legislators at the same time as the Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Women.


City Admin receives ZC City Reso thanking CDO LGU for Tabang Zamboanga Assistance

From the moment she began her government work to the time she won in the May 2013 Zamboanga Mayoral election, she has brought the wisdom of a nun, the compassion of a counselor  and the heart of a teacher to Philippine local governance.  Because of leaders like “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, we look to the future with a measure of hope and faith in the strength of our people.



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