Open main menu

Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar (born September 7, 1966), also known as Beng Climaco, is a Filipino politician,[1] and currently the mayor of Zamboanga City in Mindanao, Philippines. Prior to this she was councilor of the city's 1st district for two terms, and its vice mayor. She is the second woman to become a mayor of Zamboanga City.

Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar,
21st Mayor of Zamboanga City
Assumed office
June 30, 2013
Preceded byCelso L. Lobregat
Vice Mayor of Zamboanga City
In office
June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2007
Preceded byVacant
(Post previously held by Erbie Fabian)
Succeeded byManuel Jose Dalipe
Deputy Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives for Mindanao
In office
July 26, 2010 – June 30, 2013
Preceded bySimeon Datumanong
Succeeded byDina Abad
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Zamboanga City's 1st District
In office
June 30, 2007 – June 30, 2013
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded byCelso L. Lobregat
Personal details
BornMaria Isabelle Garcia Climaco
(1966-09-07) September 7, 1966 (age 52)
Zamboanga City, Philippines
Political partyLiberal Party (2010–present)
Trifonio Salazar (m. 2009)
ResidenceSta. Maria, Zamboanga City, Philippines
Alma materAteneo de Zamboanga University
Ateneo de Manila University


Early life and familyEdit

Maria Isabelle Garcia Climaco-Salazar or Beng, comes from a family of public servants. As a girl she was shy and close to her family. With the help of her friends and colleagues, during her college years, she became a student leader who was active in the socio-civic affairs of her community, growing up to be a devoted woman driven by service and self-expression.


She is a graduate of Parsippany Hills High School in Parsippany Hills, New Jersey, in U.S. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Ateneo de Zamboanga University and her Masters in family counseling from Ateneo de Manila University. She was certified guidance counselor for children and family affairs by Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

She was awarded with international scholarships, namely the International Visitor Leadership Program, the American Council for Young Political Leaders and the Hubert Humphrey Scholarship Program. Likewise, Rotary International also recognized her significant contribution to civil society by choosing her to be part of the Rotary Group Study Exchange in Brazil. She was awarded with a Rotary International Presidential Citation by the Rotary Club of Metro Zamboanga in 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 to the 8th International Conference of AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Early careerEdit

In 1992, she became a reporter and then newscaster for Zamboanga City's Golden Broadcast Professionals. She became one of the co-anchors of the then-English version of Dateline Zamboanga until 1998 when she left to run for councilor, a race she won.

Political careerEdit

City Council stint, 1998-2004Edit

As a councilor of Zamboanga City for two terms, she filed 858 council resolutions that advocated for women, family, youth, children, education, work and social welfare. One of her pieces of legislation, the creation of the Multi-Sectoral Anti-AIDS Council, presently brings various awards to the city. One is the Trailblazer Award of the country’s prestigious Gawad Galing Pook. Another legislative measure is the Child Internet Protection Ordinance which protects minors from the influences of pornography on the Internet and as well as the introduction of the Gender and Development Program and the Implementation of R.A. 7192[clarification needed] in Zamboanga City.

Vice-mayor, 2004-2007Edit

In 2004 she won by a landslide, garnering the most votes, more than any other candidate in the history of the City of Zamboanga, making her the youngest and first elected woman vice mayor of the city. On her watch, the city council of Zamboanga was named the Second Most Outstanding Council in the country.[citation needed]

City Representative, 2007-2010 (First Term)Edit

Because of her achievements as vice mayor in city council, the residents of Zamboanga City voted her representative of the 1st District to the 14th Philippine Congress in May 2007, where she became the first congresswoman to occupy the post. Despite being a neophyte member of the 14th Congress, she is 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 for Women[clarification needed] in this Congress which was passed as a law August 2009. Likewise, she also spearheaded the Lady Legislators of the 14th Congress, in launching Pink October, the first-ever breast cancer awareness and prevention campaign in the House of Representatives.

City Representative, 2010-2013 (Second Term)Edit

In her second term, Representative Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar was elected as House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao.

City Mayor, 2013-presentEdit

Barely three months in office, Salazar was beset by lawless MNLF elements attacking the city proper on September 2013 crippling the city's economic and social life.

Personal lifeEdit

On February 28, 2009, Beng wed Retired General Trifonio Salazar. Her wedding coincided with the birthday of her late uncle Mayor Cesar C. Climaco to honor the influence has had in her life.

Following an ancient Filipino tradition, Beng is a Spanish speaker.