Davao City and Zamboanga City signed a sister agreement on Thursday. However, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party led by Sara Duterte said the pact was not related to the 2022 elections.
HNP Secretary-General Anthony del Rosario clarified this after Sara Duterte, incumbent mayor of Davao City, and Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco signed the agreement.
“Then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also had a sisterhood agreement with Zamboanga City in 2015, so what happened between Mayor Sara and Mayor Beng is a renewal of supporting each other,” del Rosario told reporters.
“This is not something new, and this is not done because there is a national campaign next year. It has nothing to do with the national elections,” he added.
Mayor Sara said she’d been friends with Climaco since January 2020 after they attended the International Visitor Leadership Program organized by the US Department of State.
“After a long flight, she was there in the hotel, she welcomed me with a paper bag with food and ginger ale,” Sara Duterte said during the event.
“I see her as a big sister because she always takes care of me.”
Zamboanga, Davao signs sister city agreement
According to Del Rosario, it was not yet known if the Davao City mayor would sign more sisterhood agreements with other cities. However, he insisted that Duterte has been consulting other officials on whether she would run for president next year.
“Having said she is open to running, it is only natural to do deeper consultations. She will be consulting her family, political allies, and grassroots supporters,” del Rosario said.
“For any candidate, that is the way to know if the people like you,” he added.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte also met with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday.
“Yes, I had lunch with FPGMA. No comment on other matters,” said the mayor to GMA News Online.
The meeting allegedly took place at a hotel in Manila.
The meeting included Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista of Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party formed by Mayor Sara.