Mindanao mayors Duterte, Climaco attend US State Department’s leadership program

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 27 January) — Mayors Sara Duterte of Davao City and Maria Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City are in the United States as delegates of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) sponsored by the US State Department.

Duterte and Climaco are now on their second week in the US for the “Strong Cities, Strong Partnerships: A Comprehensive Approach to Preventing Terrorism in SouthEast Asia,” a project under the auspices of the State Department.

Among those who accompanied the two mayors were Colonel Consolito Yecla, Task Force Davao commander, and Michael Angelo Saavedra, Chief of Staff of the Zamboanga City Mayor’s Office.

Before the Filipino delegation left the country, they met US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission John Law at the US Embassy in Manila on January 10.

In the US, Duterte and Climaco met with Counterterrorism Coordinator Ambassador Nathan Sales to discuss efforts against terrorism and violent extremism in Mindanao.

The IVLP delegates also participated in discussions on the fundamentals of US governance, including elections and federalism with Sarah Nugent of the US State Department and Dr. Steven Billet of George Washington University.

On Friday, the Filipino delegation called on Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, who hosted a reception in Washington D.C.

The IVLP delegates also held meetings with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, which is one of the largest Muslim communities in Washington.

The Filipino delegation also met with Ambassador Atul Keshapt of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Gloria Steele, acting assistant administrator for the Asia Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Steele had visited the cities of Davao and Zamboanga during her stint as USAID Philippine country director.