Let the life of CCC, El Gato Viejo, inspires our city government officials PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 13:58

In observance of the 30th death anniversary of Zamboanga City’s greatest Mayor Cesar Cortes Climaco, known as the mighty CCC or El Gato Viejo, the city government is observing a week long commemoration in his honor.  He was assassinated on November 14, 1984 while inspecting a fire at Camino Nuevo. CCC was born in Zamboanga City on February 28th 1916. He was killed at the age of 68.

Last Monday, Mayor Beng Climaco, his niece, unveiled CCC’s commemorative portraits at Plaza Rizal and opened to the public his personal memorabilia at the City Hall lobby. The portraits present the inspirational life and legacy of CCC – his Carisma or Charm, his Coraje or Courage, and Compasion or Compassion.
“Carisma, Coraje y Compasion are the trademarks of Uncle Cesar. 30 years ago, on line of duty, he was assassinated and I think that is a challenge to me, a Climaco, serving as the youngest of their generation of grandchildren of Isabel Cortez Climaco, to be ready on the line of duty,” Mayor Climaco said.

The memorabilia exhibits show his numerous personal effects and artifacts including the motorcycle he used in going around the city. I remember him stopping to give candies to street children, and also manning traffic when there are no policemen or traffic enforcers around. He also sneaked one night at our local police station to steal the typewriter just to prove the policemen are sleeping in their job.

On November 13, 4pm, there will be a parade from the Climaco residence in Sta. Maria to the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-Abong where a variety show will be presented. Then it will be followed by a lighting of candles and offering of flowers where he was assassinated. Friday, November 14, 7am, there will be an early morning mass at the Sta. Maria Parish Church.  And a commemorative program at the Climaco Freedom Park. At 2pm, there will be an extemporaneous speaking contest and a quiz bowl about him at the City Hall lobby.

I hope they will play his famous campaign song again, “Ay si Cesar, Ay si Cesar Climaco,” forgot the other lyrics, hehehe. But it was a favorite hymn during my teen age years. It is said to be one of the Philippine's most catchy political jingles next to Mambo Magsaysay.

CCC finished his elementary and secondary education at the Normal School, presently the Western Mindanao State University. He pursued his college education at the University of the Philippines, where he took up law, took the bar examination, and passed with flying colors.

CCC was known as a staunch fighter against corruption especially during the time of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his military cohorts. If I remember it right, he refused to cut his white long hair. He said he will cut it if Marcos resigns. He has this famous count down billboard hanging in City Hall too. It counted all the atrocities and political murders under the regime of Marcos as well unsolved crimes in the city. During his term, corruption was a big No in his administration. Do we have corruption in City Hall presently? You tell me.

CCC was a man who left lasting legacies for our city. To his credit belongs the construction of the Pasonanca National Park.  and the development of the Abong-Abong Park which was planned to provide space for a camp site, housing projects, and a shantytown to house the city's homeless population. What's our city's housing plan for the poor? I don't see any.

CCC was responsible too for the establishment of the Boy Scout Campsite, which was once the site of an international Boy Scout Jamboree. Is he remembered with the on-going Centennial Boy Scout Jamboree? I don’t know.

CCC obsession for cleanliness in the city gained, at one time, the title for Zamboanga City as the cleanest city in the Philippines. Will Mayor Beng bring back this clean reputation again? She has to implement the ordinance stated in the business permit that it is the responsibility of the establishment to keep its surrounding clean. But it seems as long the business permit are paid, they really don't care.

Pep Talk honors one of the greatest Zamboagueños and hero worthy to be emulated by our present government officials. He brought honor and glory to our city. Let your death wake up our city official to do their jobs well. I think there should be a CCC Award just like the Magsaysay Award. But it should be for government officials only. (Photo credit to the Facebook Account of Mayor Beng Climaco.)

By Dante Corteza

Isaiah 58:10-11 “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”