On May 31, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim Heather Variava visited Zamboanga City to deliver COVID-19 assistance and reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to broader security and sustainable peace in Mindanao.
At Zamboanga City’s molecular testing center in Barangay San Roque, CDA Variava handed over essential COVID-19 medical equipment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that will help boost the city’s capacity to manage and mitigate the negative effects of the ongoing pandemic.
The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported Zamboanga City’s COVID-19 response and vaccination rollout since June 2020. USAID has deployed mobile vaccination teams, composed of three emergency medical technicians and one information technology (IT) staff to boost the city’s vaccination capabilities. In addition, USAID deployed six consultants in major vaccination sites to support data encoding and reporting.
In total, USAID provided a total of 19 health and IT personnel to enhance Zamboanga City’s human resource capacity to fight COVID-19.
“Combating the COVID-19 pandemic requires collective action,” CDA Variava said. “I am pleased that the enduring partnership between our two nations has fortified Zamboanga City’s pandemic response. In collaboration with national and local governments, the private sector, and other key stakeholders, the United States will continue to implement adaptive solutions to strengthen local communities in the Philippines.”
In a meeting with Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco, CDA Variava thanked Climaco for supporting U.S. partnerships and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to security cooperation in Zamboanga. They were also joined by alumni from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and Philippine Youth Leadership Program, who discussed activities undertaken by the U.S. Government Alumni Association in Zamboanga City.
In 2020, Mayor Climaco participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, “Strong Cities, Strong Partnerships: A Comprehensive Approach to Preventing Terrorism in Southeast Asia.” The program brought together mayors and other local government officials to exchange best practices on counterterrorism.
CDA Variava also toured the American Corner at Ateneo de Zamboanga University, which the school has hosted since 1987. The American Space shares American culture with students and faculty, providing free access to American books, movies, programs, and information on U.S. exchange opportunities.