‘Dia’ for all! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 13:28



According to their count, there were close to 50,000 people who joined the parade last Monday marking the 81st observance of “Dia de Zamboanga”. This number did not include the crowds that stood on the sidewalks waving at their walking, sweating friends. What happened to the absent officials and some of the “rojo” diehards, including the nephew of Senator Roseller T. Lim? I saw the grandson of former Mayor Gregorio Ledesma and the granddaughter of the first mayor of Zamboanga, Nicasio Valderrosa. Though not invited to be with the elite and influential, the grandson of the last appointed mayor of Zamboanga, Manuel Dagalea-Jaldon, was among the huge crowd. Conspicuously missing, perhaps because of a very busy schedule in Manila, was the grandson of Don Pablo Lorenzo.

Nevertheless, ‘Dia’ is a celebration for all true-blooded Zamboanguenos. Three years before the dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, was born in 1939, Europe was preparing for war. America was just recuperating from the great stock market plunge. Adolf Hitler was ordering his generals, particularly Dr. Goebbels, to spread the ideology of the Aryan Race.

Starting from Senor Valderrosa to the last appointed mayor, Col. Jaldon, and from the first elected mayor, Cesar C. (Cortez, not Chinese) Climaco to the newest political edition, Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar, Zamboanga produced products of legends. They denounced oppression and tyranny. They were all lucid public servants, as told in journals and history books, setting aside their self-interests and putting forward the best share and well-being of the people. They well-managed the state of the city and the affairs of the people. They upheld our independence as a chartered city, now a highly-urbanized city.

When the Spaniards and the Japanese came rushing at our doors to conquer a peaceful and orderly city that was living on agricultural bounty and flourishing in the abundance of fish and poultry, our forefathers held high their prideful souls and resolved to fight the invaders. Yes, we lost, but for a noble cause. But they never surrendered. The underground movement in Zamboanga combined heroism and tactics that after the surrender of Japan, they earned the distinctive star of valor. Too bad, Gen. Douglas MacArthur never made it to Zamboanga, otherwise he would have pinned a Distinguished Service Cross upon our was heroes.

This ‘Dia’ is for all. This is when we show case our humble beginnings, our marvelous and heroic past, our colorful tradition and amalgam culture — a city blended with knock-out beauties, alluring beaches and tourist spots, delightful restaurants and inexpensive lifestyle.

It is true that we have been driven backward by competing cities in Mindanao like Davao and Cagayan de Oro because we waited too long to jump-start our economy. We cruised very slowly to economic progress.

With the assassination of CCC, our absolute leader, a man of vision, not acclamation, we simply fell back. The plan in 1981 to have a new airport worthy to be sired “international” died with him. His successor, Mr. Manuel A. Dalipe, rolled out the water project, the flagship program of the then Department of Local Governments and Community Development, an office held in high esteem by Climaco (PACD) after his brief stint as commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

‘Dia’ is all about political and economic advancement — with a dare to open up new vistas, calculated and precise. Our big three — Climaco-Salazar, Lobregat and Dalipe — have verbalized their accomplishments and outlined their plans for the immediate future. Never mind what they did not do. These are not concocted projects. Genuine news.

They are all participants of history, in shaping the events of our lifetime and beyond. This is a responsibility they cannot escape because they sought for it. Like Caesar, they have crossed the Rubicon, but not to bring forth calamities, but to reinforce progress and order in a growing society. All these for subsequent generations and more “buenas Dias”.