THE CITIES of Davao and Zamboanga forged a sisterhood agreement Thursday, a partnership that is not tied to next year’s elections, according to the political party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

The sister city agreement, signed by Ms. Carpio and her counterpart Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar in Zamboanga City, was first initiated in 2015 when President Rodrigo R. Duterte was still Davao mayor.   

“The agreement has been pending since 2015… I don’t think this has something to do with 2022 elections,” Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) Secretary General and Spokesperson Anthony G. del Rosario said during a Zoom conference on Thursday.

The sister city ties, valid for five years, “intend to create and fortify an open communicative atmosphere to induce a heightened exchange of ideas, particularly in the fields of tourism and culture, agriculture and trade and commerce,” the Zamboanga City government said in a statement.

Mr. Del Rosario said any other upcoming sister city agreements cannot be viewed as a form of coalition with HNP, a regional party led by Ms. Carpio.

The HNP spokesperson has previously announced that five national political parties have signified interest for a coalition with HNP. These are the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), Nacionalista Party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), People’s Reform Party (PRP), and National Unity Party (NUP).

Ms. Climaco is a member of the current opposition, Liberal Party. — Maya M. Padillo